Multimillion-dollar funding boost for Newcastle's largest playground

14 Dec 2022

Plans to build the city's largest playground at Foreshore Park are in full swing with a $2.27 million funding boost from the State Government.

The 8,400 sqm Livvi’s Place inclusive regional playground and waterplay area form the centrepiece of City of Newcastle's Harbour Foreshore Masterplan, which was unanimously adopted at last night's Council meeting following extensive community consultation throughout the design process and a recent four-week public exhibition.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the $2.27 million grant will accelerate the delivery of the $12 million stage one project.

"Following the unanimous adoption of the Harbour Foreshore Masterplan last night, City of Newcastle will now get to work on delivering this shared community vision for the iconic Harbour Foreshore precinct," Cr Nelmes said.

"This project will help realise the full potential of one of Newcastle's premier open areas, creating a drawcard destination for locals and visitors from across the region to enjoy.

"City of Newcastle continues to invest significantly in the delivery of recreation opportunities for our community and I am pleased to see the NSW Government demonstrating its support for our ambitious plans at Foreshore Park through this funding."

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin said the NSW Government is supporting the project with $2.27 million though Round Nine of the Resources for Regions program.

“This will be a place where people of all ages and abilities can come together, have some fun and enjoy everything Newcastle has to offer,” Mr Martin said. 

“This is exactly the kind of project Resources for Regions was designed for, helping mining communities that contribute so much to the NSW economy.

“The playground precinct will offer something for everyone, with an elevated tree-lined boardwalk, accessible amenities, picnic areas and plenty of play spaces and equipment to enjoy.” 

The Harbour Foreshore Masterplan will be delivered in stages, with the playground and waterplay area scheduled to commence construction in 2023.

While detailed designs for the fully-fenced accessible playground are currently underway, initial concepts included in the Masterplan feature junior and toddler areas, water-based play, a giant maritime-inspired swing set with inclusive swings, natured-based play areas and quiet space, connected via accessible paths, seating, gardens and lawns.

The playground will have a distinctly Newcastle character and pay tribute to the city's Aboriginal heritage with a central whale-themed swing area that takes inspiration from a traditional Awabakal story, while giant canoe-shaped communal benches in the tree-studded picnic area will offer a place of respite.

An elevated climbing structure at the heart of the playground will represent giant nuts and bolts, symbolising Newcastle's strong industrial ties. The structure will also contain slides, nets and sensory activities, while a surrounding accessible soft-fall area will include carousels, trampolines, rockers and a dual accessible flying fox.

The area will also have a waterplay area unique to Newcastle, accessible amenities including a changing places room, and a kiosk which will service both the playground and the wider Foreshore Park.

The Harbour Foreshore Masterplan is designed to create new connections between the city and the harbour's edge around Foreshore Park and along Joy Cummings Promenade. It includes increasing the amount of shaded canopy within Foreshore Park by 250% from 2,800 sqm to 9,800 sqm.

The Livvi's Place playground will be developed in collaboration with Touched by Olivia and Variety – the Children's Charity, who have provided funding and expertise to assist with the design phase.