Why do we need this Youth Recreation Area in our community?
To create social, outdoor activity options for our young people.
Young people aged 5-17 make up 12% of the population in Woollahra LGA. However there is a distinct lack of recreation facilities for this age group in the local area.
Many families in the local area live in apartments, or in houses with very small backyards, meaning young people have limited opportunities to be active at home. With statistics indicating one in five children and adolescents in Australia are either overweight or obese, opportunities to get active are growing in importance.
Council has a responsibility to provide fun, safe and convenient options to help young people in the area get fit and healthy.
Why Rushcutters Bay Park?
Rushcutters Bay Park was chosen because it has convenient access to public transport, existing amenities, lots of natural surveillance and is already a hub for recreational activities. The new proposed location for the Youth Recreation Area is next to an existing football field, and close to the playground and kiosk.
Were other parks considered?
Yes. A Site Investigation Report considered the three public parks of Cooper, Rushcutters Bay and Trumper as being closest to the Paddington area, where the need was initially put forward by concerned parents. Rushcutters Bay Park was assessed by the report as the most suitable location as a recreation area given its already active involvement with formal sport recreation for young people, existing facilities, nearby kiosk, toddler playground and proximity to New South Head Road and public transport. The parks size and level gradient, its clear sight-lines, opportunities for passive surveillance by its many visitors and a regular police patrol (often on bike) identified additional decision making criteria for Rushcutters Bay Park.
What about previous concerns regarding of noise, perceived anti-social behaviour and loss of open space?
The new location is situated in the south west corner of the park. It is believed this location will better address concerns previously raised as follows;
Noise - The new Youth Recreation Area is next to New South Head Road, with heavy traffic throughout the day. The sound of continuous heavy traffic along New South Head Road will mitigate sound from the proposed facilities. The closest property is a hotel over 60m away.
Perceived Anti-Social Behaviour - These new facilities are designed for 8-14yr olds, and it is anticipated that many of the users will be young children on scooters. The new location would be under constant passive surveillance with the road and the main arterial path through the Park nearby. In addition, with no floodlighting, hours of operation will be determined by sunlight.
Loss of Trees and Green Space - No trees will be removed. In fact additional landscaping will occur. In addition, this location is further distance from the harbour and areas more popular for picnics and passive recreation.
Is the Youth Recreation Area accessible for people with a disability?
The proposed area will be accessible for wheelchairs, and allow involvement both as an active user or spectator. The skate and basketball areas will accommodate users in wheelchairs along with everyday play, with no alterations required.
Is the area suitable for younger children, what play areas are available for toddlers?
There are a number of playgrounds across Woollahra Council that cater for younger children and toddlers.
At Rushcutters Bay Park there is an existing playground approx. 150m away from the proposed Youth Recreation Area. This fenced playground, adjacent to the kiosk, will continue to be available as a place for younger children to play.
What size is the proposed new youth recreation area?
The new Youth Recreation Area concept plan has an approximate footprint of 875m2 or 1.6% of the facility for the skate plaza, basketball area and footpaths. With 350m2 of additional landscaping, it will total 1,225m2 or 2.23% of the park's 53,843m2.
The previous concept plan had a concrete footprint of 1,225m2 for skate, paths and basketball and 300m2 for landscape (total 1,525m2 ).
Is this like the Skate Park at Bondi Beach?
The skate park at Bondi Beach is designed for intermediate/advanced Transition/Park style skateboarders. It's bowl is 10 foot deep and is not suitable for beginner skaters or kids on scooters wanting casual play. It can be dangerous for inexperienced skaters/children to use the Bondi Beach Skate park.
The skate plaza proposed as part of the Youth Recreation Area at Rushcutters Bay Park is majority 'street style' and designed for beginners and 8-14 yr olds in mind.
From a sports perspective, the two parks represent two different disciplines. Skateboarding will be included in the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as two events; Park (transition style similar to majority of Bondi Beach Skate Park) and Street (elements similar to the Rushcutters Bay Park proposal).
The Youth Recreation Area at Rushcutters Bay also has a basketball practice area and plenty of seating to relax and observe.
Will the Youth Recreation Area impact harbour views?
There will be no impact on harbour views. The new location for the Youth Recreation Area is 200 metres distant from Rushcutters Bay, directly below the natural embankment of New South Head Road and screened by existing mature fig trees.
Did Council follow up with Centennial Parklands regarding a joint project?
The Centennial Park Master Plan 2040 was amended after consultation on the draft plan to include a skate facility located in the north east of Centennial Park for informal recreation opportunities for 10-17 yr olds. This type of provision was seen as currently lacking in the park.
Council has been in discussion with Centennial Parklands on this project, which is likely to be delivered in the long term. There is no further detail on the plans or facility available in this early stage. Council recognises there is still a current need to provide opportunities for youth within the LGA and the Youth Recreation Area at Rushcutters Bay is a local facility aimed to meet this demand.
What landscape work is included in the concept plan?
Landscaped reed and native garden beds surrounding the space will evoke the history of the site and the rush cutters who once harvested the wetland reeds as roof thatching material.
No trees will be removed. Additional plantings of the Weeping Lilly Pilly, an Australian native tree, are integrated into the design and along this section of the footpath.
Will any trees be removed for the proposed new youth recreation area?
Additional planting of Weeping Lilly Pilly, an Australian native tree, will be integrated into the design.
What about the noise from the Youth Reacreation Area?
The proposed new location of the facility aims to address noise concerns, by situating it closer to the less peaceful corner of the park. The new location has the busy New South Head road nearby, and noise from the constant traffic will mitigate noise generated from people using the facility.
There are no floodlights, so the hours of use will be determined by sunlight hours.
An acoustic report was conducted for the proposed project, a summary of findings and full report can be found in the document library.
How will the youth recreation area be kept secure from noise disturbance and vandalism after hours?
The local police command operate a scheduled after hour patrol security check on bicycle through Rushcutters Bay Park providing a police presence and monitoring for late night disturbance. In the case of a person witnessing vandalism in public open space the witness must report the incident to the Police.
Will there be lighting?
There is no lighting included in the plan.
How will the youth recreation area be maintained and how much will that cost?
Maintenance of the youth recreation area would be covered under general maintenance of the park. As play equipment it would be scheduled for weekly ‘Duty of Care’ inspection, already undertaken for the toddler playground and fitness station in the park.
How do I provide feedback to Council on the concept plans for the Youth Recreation Area?
All feedback should be directed through the survey on this page.
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