By Danielle Kutchel
Just in time for Christmas, a new all-abilities playspace has opened in the heart of Clyde.
The new park is located at Stockland’s Edgebrook estate, on the corner of Merribrook Boulevard and Carribean Circuit.
Named ‘Variety Livvi’s Place’, after the Children’s Charity, the park has been specially designed for children and families living with autism and is part of a network of Livvi’s Places around the country – unique inclusive playspaces for children of all ages.
Designed alongside play and behavioural child development experts, the broader park incorporates features such as water sensory zones, quiet spaces and themed zones, which all play an important role for those on the spectrum to find calmness in a busy playspace.
Construction started at the park in February 2020 and the final part of the development, the flight deck, has just been completed.
The park also includes a shaded BBQ area with room for people who use a mobility aid to sit at the table or BBQ, toilet facilities, slides, swings and more.
Pakenahm mother Hannah and her two boys, Zach and Kai, were excited to be among the first families to try the park when it opened on Friday 18 December.
“It’s just really good for us because I know that it’s got a fenced area so I don’t have to worry about them running off. It’s easy and accessible for them [and] there’s a variety of things for them to do here. It’s good for all ages,” she explained.
Construction has been a team effort between Stockland Edgebrook, the City of Casey, children’s charity Variety and property and infrastructure consultants Spiire.
Jasmine Ong, Spiire Senior Associate and Design Advisor, said the park balanced amenity with “therapy, education, ecology, colour and the seven senses”.
“Designed in collaboration with occupational therapist Katie Greig, this inclusive play space caters for cognitive aspects, sensory sensitivities and empathy intelligence,” she said.
Kim Becherand, national manager inclusive play at Variety, said the park’s design was about more than just accessibility.
“We’ve got alternative routes so if children or older people living with disability would like to experience challenge, there’s progressive challenge and risk,” she explained.
“We’ve also got a few little hidey-holes if people find they need to have some quite time or space. There’s lots of sensory work in this playspace, so music, all different textures, beautiful gardens. There are double slides so a child who might need extra support can actually go down with an adult.”
Michael Enright, team leader of landscape design and construction at the City of Casey, said the new park would provide more opportunities for Casey kids to play with their peers in an inclusive space that caters to every child.
Callum Pattie, manager of connected communities at the City of Casey, added: “It’s around making sure we have options for all and being able to support people with unique needs.”
Stockland has committed to delivering at least one inclusive playspace in all residential communities over 1000 lots.