AN early childhood and all-abilities playspace will be constructed at Ballarat’s Victoria Park after a long battle to secure funding.
Deputy Premier Peter Ryan will pledge $500,000 to upgrade the park’s infrastructure and create new early childhood and all-abilities play areas.
The philanthropic group, Touched by Olivia Foundation, plans to contribute $100,000 to beautify the park, while the remaining funds will come from the City of Ballarat.
Touched by Olivia Foundation executive officer Rebecca Ho was “delighted” with the funding for ‘Livvy’s Place’ in Victoria Park.
“It’s going to be the first inclusive play space in south western Victoria,” she said.
Ms Ho said the area would not just cater for children with disabilities but all youngsters in Ballarat.
“Creating a play area like this is much more complicated than putting a ramp in,” she said.
“People with an invisible disability like autism need specific things.”
The ‘Livvy’s Place’ design reflected Ballarat’s history, with stone ruins built up into a climbing wall and sculptures reflecting the farming history of the area, Ms Ho said.
The foundation was $50,000 short of its target and was looking for fundraising contributions from the Ballarat community.
“The closer we can get to the final figure, the fewer things will be scaled back,” she said.
Mr Ryan said improvements would be carried out at the northern end of Victoria Park, close to Lake Wendouree, and would include new barbecue facilities, toilet upgrades, seating, shelters, new paths and car parking.
“While Victoria Park is well used by local sporting clubs, it has lacked the basic infrastructure needed to attract families, picnickers, walkers or those seeking a day out,” he said. “This investment will fill the gaps in Victoria Park’s infrastructure to ensure it once again becomes a popular local visitor destination.”
Mr Ryan said by attracting more visitors to Victoria Park, particularly on weekends, pop-up businesses such as coffee and food vans would be attracted to the park, while nearby retail businesses would also benefit from the influx of visitors.
“The new all abilities and unstructured play areas will provide an ideal setting for students from the nearby Ballarat Specialist School to enjoy time outside the classroom,” he said.