Calamvale’s District Park opens to rave reviewOpened on Australia Day 2012, Calamvale District Park in southern Brisbane has provided a vital green space for a growing population and transformed the landscape of playground design.
In 2000, the Calamvale District Local Plan indicated to the Brisbane City Council that a park was needed to meet the recreational needs of the rapidly expanding Calamvale population. As a result, Council undertook a process of land acquisition between 2002 and 2010, using funds drawn from infrastructure levies on new subdivisions.
The planning for the design of the park began in 2008, with a detailed analysis of the opportunities for the site. This analysis assisted Council in developing draft concepts for the park, which were then provided to the community for comment in 2009.
Construction of the park was undertaken in stages, as funds become available. In 2010 both the ‘Festival Space’ — a large open area for community events — and the off-leash dog area, were established. These were followed by the installation of the groundbreaking playground in 2011.
SkyWalk takes play to new heights
Calamvale’s remarkable playground is the result of comprehensive consultation on the part of Council, specifically with those who would be using the equipment.
As such, design workshops were held with local students from Algester State School and Calamvale Community College, in order to gain an understanding of what kids wanted from the new playground.
The students provided Council with valuable insight and ideas that contributed to the overall design of the playground and the mix of equipment that was to be included.
Calamvale Community College students Daniel McCormack, Daniel Woodbridge, Max Griesall and Isaac McKinnis came up with a fantastic design for a spider web structure that linked to a suspension bridge and large slide.
In sourcing the equipment, Council worked closely with Urban Play, the company that supplies Kompan and Corocord equipment in Queensland, and who were central in turning the students’ vision into a reality.
A representative from Corocord, Kompan’s German partner and inventors of the architecturally designed Spacenet, travelled to Calamvale in late 2011 to oversee the installation of the SkyWalk with Urban Play, highlighting the high degree of commitment to the finished product from all levels.
Made up of four ‘sky cabins’ that are connected by free-standing rope bridges, the SkyWalk is 10 metres high at its peaks, giving children a sense of freedom and adventure that is rare in these days of heightened regulation.
With the playground surrounded by a landscape of native trees and shrubs, children feel as though they are in the treetops; in fact, the strenuous clamber to the sky cabins has been designed to feel like a tree climb, which is then rewarded with a thrilling ‘escape’ down the twisted slide.
Proof is in the pudding
The success of Calamvale District Park and the SkyWalk seems to be the result of Brisbane City Council’s commitment to good planning, the quality of life of the City’s residents, a high degree of community consultation and, perhaps most importantly, a sense of adventure.
Since the playground’s opening, reviews have been enthusiastic, with the Park and playground fast becoming a ‘must do’ for visitors and locals alike.
This review from the website Brisbanekids.com.au just about sums it up: ‘If you want a WOW factor in a park then you need to head to Calamvale Park – with its leafy outlook and incredible slide, your Brisbane kid is going to LOVE IT!’
Arguably, kids from all over Australia would love it, and let’s hope that more get to experience this kind of playground, as more councils start thinking outside the square.