Community leads on park design

Moree Plains Shire Council in New South Wales has trialled a new community consultation process to help inform the design of a park and family meeting place in a disadvantaged area of Moree.

In 2016, Moree Plains Shire Council received $50,000 in funding from Family and Community Services under the Social Housing Community Infrastructure Fund to build a new community meeting place in Cooee Park in South Moree.

Council then matched this with a further $50,000 contribution.
South Moree is an area of acute social and economic disadvantage.
Residents of the area suffer from high rates of crime, unemployment and drug dependency.

Council’s Senior Urban Planner Murray Amos said improvements were proposed in the South-West Moree Social Plan and the key objective for this project was to create a public space that locals can use for recreational purposes and social interaction.

“Everyone who lives in south-west Moree is keen to make this area a better place to live, work and relax in, but we all recognise there are some issues which need to be addressed.”

After 12 months of consultations and community-led design, the new family meeting place was opened and handed over to the community on 9 August, with a barbeque and celebration.

The previously undeveloped area has been turned into a community space with paths, benches, barbeque and football posts.

Council’s Community Development Officer Dominic Wilcox said that the whole process, from start to finish, has been driven by the community.

“Every aspect of the design was community-led.
“We met regularly with locals, and worked closely with Elders, emergency services and community groups to put together a useful and vandal-proof design.

“South Moree residents who were completing Community Service Orders were involved in the construction, and the beautiful mosaic is being completed by local artists.”