Cr Jason Kingsley
Cr Jason Kingsley Bill North

Jacaranda Park to be inclusive of all children

NEARLY two years in the making, Jacaranda Park is set to be upgraded into an all-abilities playground.

in 2015, Clarence Valley Council decided that Jacaranda Park would become the regional playground of the area.

Councillor Jason Kingsley headed the working group to create a playground that could be accessible for all children, said it was a huge relief to have the playground approved by council.

"You go to playgrounds now and the playground isn't accessible to people with disabilities," Cr Kingsley said.

"We've managed to make 50% of the equipment all-accessible."

A lot of time and effort has gone into researching and finding the best equipment to service all children.

While a liberty swing was included in the original plan, Mr Kingsley said with the precautions needed for the swing, it became an exclusive experience and was prone to vandalism.

"We've included a whole range of pieces of equipment for various and very diverse disabilities, we've got sensory gardens for children with vision impairment, hearing impairment, with aspergers and autism, the sensory thing works quite nice for them," he said.

"We've got digging equipment, accessible drum, a carousel. which is flat to the ground that a wheelchair can roll directly onto it and able bodied children can get onto it, and it actually spins around... we've got a basket swing, then the centre piece of the whole thing is a 22m pirate ship... which has an accessible ramp which kids with disabilities can walk or wheel up that ramp."

Cr Kingsley said the new Jacaranda Park playground will encourage people from all over the Clarence, and further, to come to Grafton for the all-inclusive experience.

"It's demonstrating that we are aware of people of all abilities being included, and I think it also demonstrate that there are sections of the community, especially younger children and families, who want their kids to experience the same things as able-bodied kids, it allows them to do that," he said.

"I don't know of many playgrounds that are as well thought out as what this is and have half the accessible equipment that we are looking at.

"We're going to have people coming from Coffs Harbour, and within driving distance, with children with disabilities who want their kids to be able to get on this equipment and have fun."

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