Knox Park in Murwillumbah will receive a major makeover during the next few years, after Council received Federal Government funding for a youth precinct.
Council will receive $500,000 from the Regional Development Australia Fund - Round Three (Supporting Small Towns) and these funds will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Council.
The combined funds will be used to create a dedicated public youth space, for unstructured recreational, social and leisure activities, to encourage participation by a range of young people and families.
The existing skate park and play equipment will be replaced with:
- a 'best practice' plaza-style skate/scooter precinct
- an adventure playground with cutting-edge design features
The integrated youth space will be designed and managed by young people and other members of the local community.
It will cater to the daily social needs of young people, with the capacity to cater for local skate events and youth-related programs.
This is expected to encourage greater use of the park, particularly by young people and their families, and directly address safety concerns raised by young people and the wider community.
The youth space will be enhanced by locating it closer to the multi-purpose community centre, which was opened in Knox Park in 2012 and includes a dedicated youth centre staffed by two youth-related services.
After-hours use of the space will be boosted by local youth service providers, who will use it to stage events and activities.
The Knox Park playground will be open to the public from Saturday 3 October 2015 with an official opening to be confirmed in the near future. The youth precinct/skate park is on schedule for a December opening.
Tweed Shire Council has managed to secure an additional $250,000 of funding through the generous donation from the Lions Club Murwillumbah.
Youth Strategy and Action Plan
A draft Tweed Youth Strategy and Action Plan, created in 2012 after considerable consultation with young people, identified Knox Park as a key location in Murwillumbah that needed considerable improvement.
A youth forum was held in October 2012 to inform the draft Youth Strategy and Action Plan and was attended by 40 high school students from across Tweed Shire.
A project team of 10 participants mapped their vision of an upgraded Knox Park - which included a skate plaza concept and adventure park.
Overall Master Plan
An overall master plan for Knox Park (including the youth precinct) was developed in consultation with the community.
At its September 2013 meeting, Council resolved to place the Knox Park Master Plan on exhibition for a 3 month period. During this period, stakeholder and community consultation will be undertaken and you will be invited to make comments or submissions via Councils website.
Council is preparing a master plan for the redevelopment of Knox Park, to better establish the park as a social hub for the district.
The Knox Park Master Plan was on public exhibition from 22 October 2013 until 20 November 2014. Knox Park is a community facility close to the Murwillumbah central business district but its outdated structure and aged infrastructure lend themselves to anti-social behaviour that has contributed to a negative reputation and an underutilisation by most of the local community. The master plan addresses structural issues that foster anti-social activities and identifies layout improvements which, in combination with new infrastructure, will encourage greater use by locals and visitors.
The draft master plan proposed that the island within the pond be connected to the park via a board walk. This design was in response to feedback through previous consultation and complaints received over time about the smell and impact on the park of the ibis. During the exhibition period a number of submissions were received expressing concern with this proposal and the potential impact on the birds.
As there are a number of complex issues that required consideration in determining the most appropriate management of the pond including water quality, safety fauna and flora education/interpretation and amenity, the revised master plan has removed the proposed connecting board walk and the pond will be the subject of a separate future detailed assessment, planning and design process.
In May 2013, Council secured a Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) grant to design and construct a youth precinct in Knox Park. The youth precinct comprises a dedicated public youth space for unstructured recreational, social and leisure activities. It incorporates a plaza-style skate, bmx and scooter area and an adventure playground.
For the youth precinct to be successful, it is critical its location and design is considered in the context of a master plan for the whole park.
In 2007, Council engaged consultant Architectus to produce a development control plan for the Murwillumbah town centre, including Knox Park. This process involved comprehensive consultation, including community and stakeholder workshops. Building on this consultation, Council officers from Recreation Services and Community and Cultural Services engaged with numerous stakeholder groups and key service providers, including police, to discuss issues of concern and design options to make Knox Park safer and more functional. Youth representatives were also engaged, through the development of Council's draft Youth Strategy and Action Plan.
Public safety was one of the main themes to emerge throughout consultation. The draft Knox Park Master Plan uses Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles to make the park safer, by increasing opportunities for casual surveillance and activating the park by encouraging greater use. This is achieved primarily by opening vistas through the park, increasing accessibility, reducing opportunities for concealment and provision of new facilities which will increase visitation.
The major elements of the draft plan include:
An entry plaza with seating and shade at the Brisbane/Wollumbin Street corner - to provide a prominent entry to Knox Park and a welcoming, functional space for residents and visitors. This area could include public art and civic structures such as a clock tower and community notice board. The bus shelters and seating will be upgraded to encourage the use of public transport. The plaza will require the removal of a small number of car parks.
A boulevard and avenue tree planting extending into the park from the entry plaza. Shaded seating is proposed along the length of a wide and accessible pathway which could accommodate weekend or night markets.
Relocating the existing playground to the heavily treed area in the centre of Knox Park.
Constructing a single, centrally located toilet facility. The dated toilet facilities in Brisbane Street and Nullum Street will be demolished and replaced with a modern facility fully compliant with current access requirements.
An adventure playground using existing mature trees for shade and designed to engage children in imaginative play that interacts with the natural surroundings. Play elements will cater for a wide age range, from toddlers to teenagers, in different play areas. Construction of the playground will require selective thinning of existing vegetation and raise the tree canopy to accommodate the facility and provide sight lines through the park.
Picnic shelters and barbecue facilities next to the adventure playground and an open grassed area for play, to encourage more family and group participation. The plan also allows for a large shelter for community use such as yoga or group meetings.
A youth precinct skate plaza to replace the dated skate facility, including an events stage and shelter with power and lighting.
A half basketball court next to the skate plaza, to provide an additional facility for youth, along with informal seating.
A large central open space for big events such as a travelling circus or World Environment Day. The space links to a permanent stage structure for music or showcase events.
An entry plaza on the Condong Street - Nullum Street Corner, connecting Knox Park to nearby schools and residential areas. This will ling to the central spine path and encourage access through the park and increase passive surveillance.
To view the Knox Park Master Plan design Knox Park Master Plan Design Draft (1.72mB PDF)