Ballarat’s long awaited all-inclusive play space will officially open later this month.
(min cost $8)
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Located in Victoria Park, the play space has been designed to be accessible for people with a range of disabilities, including physical, sensory and neurological.
City of Ballarat mayor Des Hudson said a special opening event would be held on March 19 beginning at 10am.
“It is a playground that is accessible to all, not just kids with a disabilities, but all kids together of all abilities, being able to socialise and do what kids do,” he said.
Cr Hudson said he expected the facility to be used for a variety of uses with barbecues and toilets also installed at the site. He said the all-abilities aspect of the play space was a major appeal.
“I think for me it means, that kids that otherwise may have just watched and may have not been able to participate in the past will be able to participate as all other kids do,” he said. “The best thing you can hear is kids laughing and having fun and interacting with each other.”
Long time campaigner for the facility Bec Paton said she had seen a similar park in Sydney and had been fighting for a similar space in Ballarat ever since.
“It has been a really long road but we are nearly there,” she said. “I have two children, one is profoundly disabled and one is not.”
Ms Paton said the ‘Livvi’s Play Space’ in Sydney had allowed her daughters to play together, something that had been very difficult in Ballarat.
“I wanted to fix that,” she said. “We often go to a playground and she stays in her wheel chair, she should be able to reach the sandpit. (In this playground) she will be able to play in the same sandpit as other kids.
“There are so many play options so the kids can play together.” Funding for the park has come from a variety of sources totaling almost $1.5 million. A large potion of money has been contributed by the Victorian government, Regional Development Victoria, the City of Ballarat and Central Highlands Water. A significant amount of fundraising has also been completed by Ms Paton and the Touched by Olivia Foundation.
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