Described by some as the ‘best playground ever’, Livvi’s Place at Goorimahbah Place of Stories, was given the official tick of approval today with the opening of the popular inclusive playground at Tweed Heads.
Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry, NSW Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes Anthony Roberts, Tweed MP Geoff Provest and Justine Perkins OAM, founder of the Touched by Olivia Foundation and Olivia’s mum, were on hand to cut the ribbon and officially open the spectacular public space.
Located on the northern side of Jack Evans Boat Harbour, Stage 1 of the $980,000 precinct upgrade including the play space was completed in late December, just in time for the busy summer holiday season.
Designed in collaboration with the Touched by Olivia Foundation, local landscape architect Dan Plummer, Council’s Aboriginal Advisory and Equal Access and Advisory Committees and the community, the playground places inclusion at the heart of its design, allowing children of all abilities, ages and cultures to enjoy the play space.
It also celebrates the cultural heritage of the local Bundjalung people, with Indigenous artwork and storytelling central to the theme of the play space. The Aboriginal calendar celebrates six seasons, with the seasonal stories integrated into the play space design through art and story to provide cultural and historical understanding.
Mayor Chris Cherry said she was excited to see how the community had already embraced Livvi’s Place at Goorimahbah Place of Stories.
“Since its completion a few weeks ago, the play space has been a huge drawcard with families flocking to this beautiful park from across the Tweed and even north of the border,” Cr Cherry said.
“We’ve received fantastic feedback from the local business community too, with the Tweed Chamber of Commerce presenting our Parks and Active Communities team with a business award this month.
“It has breathed new life into Jack Evans Boat Harbour and is a significant step in the transformation of Tweed into a vibrant regional centre that champions good design, the environment and cultural heritage to create attractive and diversify public spaces.”
Minister Roberts said he was impressed with the development and was pleased the community had a wonderful facility to enjoy.
“I’m delighted to open this play space today and witness the NSW Government’s support, together with Council’s commitment, to provide quality green, open and public space for the benefit of the local citizens,” Mr Roberts said.
“Whether upgrading existing plays paces or building new ones from scratch, it’s wonderful to see our $20 million Everyone Can Play program continuing to deliver more accessible and inclusive places to play across NSW.
“We’re proud of our collaboration with Council and to see the Everyone Can Play guidelines in practice, creating an amazing new inclusive play space for all ages and abilities.”
Mr Provest said Livvi’s Place at Goorimahbah Place of Stories would provide easy access to play for children of all ages, cultures and abilities.
“This is a fun play space with stimulating play areas for everyone to enjoy,” Mr Provest said.
“This new project has been designed to cater for people of all abilities, including those with mobility, sensory, sight and hearing challenges.”
Justine Perkins OAM, founder of the Touched by Olivia Foundation and Olivia's mum, was proud to add the new Tweed play space to its national network of Livvi’s Places.
"We love that Livvi's Place has found a home at Goorimahbah Place of Stories and we thank the community for welcoming our story into this place,” Ms Perkins said.
“As Olivia's handprint continues to touch the lives of families, we strive to spread inclusion and bring joy to communities through the gift of play. We've loved working in partnership with Tweed Shire Council, who place the utmost value on a child's right to play, and we are proud of this flagship inclusive play space.
“True success is seeing inclusion embedded into everyday practices, and we look forward to the gains that Tweed Shire Council is committed to delivering in all future public spaces, so that inclusion isn't something special – it just is."
The new inclusive play space is an outcome of community consultation as part of the Jack Evans Boat Harbour Plan of Management developed in 2018, and the Open Space Strategy 2019–2029.
The innovative play space design was funded by Variety – the Children’s Charity NSW/ACT and the construction of Stage 1 is proudly funded by NSW Government in collaboration with Tweed Shire Council.
Work on Stage 2 of the park is now underway, and will include a youth recreation area, additional seating, picnic tables and barbecue facilities outside of the fenced play area. Additional trees and landscaping improvements as well as a yarning circle and Aboriginal memorial wall are also included in the final concept plan.
Council has also been successful in its application through the NSW Government’s Places to Swim grant program to improve access to the beach area at Jack Evans Boat Harbour for swimming. Construction of this stage is to be completed by June 2024.
For more information and to provide feedback on Stage 1 of the play space, visit yoursaytweed.com.au/goorimahbah.