Let's play

We are investing in play spaces across the City.

Check out the latest play spaces that have opened around the City, they have been very popular! Make sure you get around to visit them all.

New locations

2023/2024 Playground renewals

Map of recent and future play space renewals

Recently finished

We thank you for sharing your ideas and feedback about play spaces in the City.

Play space renewals FAQs

Council recognises that well designed and well maintained public open spaces are becoming more valuable and necessary as a result of population growth, demographic change, urbanisation and climate change.

There has been significant community interest in play space renewals and these frequently asked questions have popped up in your feedback. We see this as an exciting opportunity to share how these decisions are made.

Shellharbour City Council provides a variety of recreation opportunities and is focused on providing accessible and enjoyable public places for our community to connect.

These spaces are important and provide a number of benefits, including:

  • Improving health and wellbeing of residents by connecting with nature and enjoying an outdoor activities,
  • Improving physical health by providing space for exercising
  • Supporting community connections by facilitating opportunities for social interaction
  • Promoting a sense of place, belonging and community pride
  • Enhancing child and youth development through play and recreation.

Renewal refers to replacing like for like; for example, removing an older, unsafe play space and providing a new play space in the same location.

Upgrade refers to adding new elements; for example, providing a new play space where there was previously not one, or new resources such as picnic tables or shade.

We renew and upgrade play spaces to improve play experiences and meet the needs of the growing community. This ensures our city is vibrant, safe and inclusive.

The Shellharbour LGA has approximately 200 reserves, 107 of which include one or more play spaces. In total Council maintains 115 play spaces in the LGA.

To prioritise renewals, look at existing play spaces and opportunities in the area, with input from:

  • Safety assessments
  • Condition of existing equipment
  • Location in the vicinity of other recent renewals
  • Community input and feedback
  • Feedback from Council teams
  • Guidance from various Council strategies and plans.

Council aims to provide an equitable spread of renewals throughout various suburbs so that all families can have access to new play equipment.

Each year, under Council’s Capital Program, a budget is received and allocated for capital projects including play space renewals. This is funded by general Council income. As such, there is a limit to the number that can be renewed in any given financial year.

Sometimes the play space renewals involve the upgrading of the space to a higher standard than previously provided so they can cater for a higher level of demand. When this occurs funding is also made available from the contributions Council receives from developers under our Infrastructure Contributions Plan.

Additional play space renewals are subject to funding from other sources such as grants.

For example, the McDonald Park play space at Albion Park Rail was identified for renewal through a review of parks in the western side of the city. This space was created to meet a district park short fall and is embellished to a district level. This play space was funded from a combination of general Council funds, developer contributions and a grant received from the Stronger Country Communities Fund.

These parks and reserves form a ‘hierarchy’ of open space, meaning that each area primarily services either the local, district or city-wide community. Each park or reserve generally offers facilities and amenities which relate to its level on the open space hierarchy; for example, in a park with greater size and community use, greater resources will be supplied.

Council has two fully fenced playgrounds: Ski Way Park in Oak Flats and Tullimbar Park on Balmoral Parade.

Additionally, there are partially fenced playgrounds at Mood Park, Central Park, and Village Green.

While fencing isn't deemed necessary for all playspaces due to limiting play opportunities and cost and maintenance, Council recognises the need for fencing in specific circumstances, such as supporting young children, parents supervising multiple children, or sites with high safety risk.

A report presented to Council on 26 November 2023, discussed the fencing of play spaces and identified areas that could benefit from fencing. As a result, Council resolved to include fencing in future playspace projects identified in the 2024/2025 works program.

Inclusive playspaces consider as many needs as possible. They provide a welcoming place where people feel comfortable yet challenged, and remove obstacles and barriers that prevent people of all ages, cultural backgrounds and abilities (both physical and mental) from playing.

Inclusive playspaces encourage everyone to stay as long as they choose. A playspace is more than just equipment. It is the entire setting used and enjoyed as part of the play experience. Inclusive playspaces are designed to be easy to access, provide a range of play options and challenges, and have appropriate facilities in a comfortable environment.

At its Council meeting of 25 September 2018 Council agreed to applying the NSW Government’s Everyone Can Play (ECP) Guideline with all playspace renewals and upgrades across the city incorporating inclusive elements to our playspaces. The ECP Guideline is a best practice resource for councils, leaders, landscape architects and community. It is a reference guide for creating playspaces, designed to include everyone in the community. At the heart of Everyone Can Play is the declaration that play is for everyone – regardless of age, ability or cultural background.

Inclusive playgrounds are designed to be useable and exciting for children with a range of of abilities. Since 2018 staff have incorporated the following considerations to ensure inclusive elements are a key factor in our playspace renewals and upgrades:

  • Request that our playspace contractors add elements that are classed as inclusive and designs that are consistent with the ECP Guideline. For example; connective paths, rubber softfall, ramp access, low level balance equipment, wheelchair friendly surfaces, picnic tables, seating and public toilets. Renewals and upgrades replace existing play equipment to include sensory play items, colourful interactive panels, imaginative play and nature play areas.
  • Conduct regular and meaningful consultation regarding play space projects and in particular around providing inclusive play spaces. Key elements of all recent playground designs are a direct result of feedback and ideas from community and stakeholders.
  • Depending on location, conduct key stakeholder consultation and analyse demographic data to provide a unique experience to users.
  • Consult with Council’s Community Development Officer - Access and Participation and the Disability Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee with our playspace designs and embellishments.
  • Continue to investigate new play equipment and look at other examples of inclusive playspaces outside of Shellharbour.
  • Council maintains a large number of parks and reserves throughout the LGA and aims to offer a variety of recreational opportunities for our community. The Play Illawarra website: https://playillawarra.com.au/parks is a useful tool to find out what facilities are available at each park, reserve and play space.

    Council uses the park hierarchy to determine if additional elements such as shade, lighting and water stations are suitable and appropriate at any specific park.

    Council has been taking into consideration the provision of natural shade in all play space renewal and upgrade projects. The provision of shade in some areas has so far been in the form of plantings (some of which are yet to mature), and also shelters. In some instances, Council requires developers to provide a number of playground elements when they deliver their parks, which includes shade.

    Generally, Council does not provide lighting in our parks from an asset provision and maintenance perspective and to reduce light spill potential on neighbouring properties. Lighting is considered with future master planning of open spaces.

    Community concerns about antisocial behaviour and requests for lighting are raised with Council’s Community Safety Officer and in turn the Shellharbour Crime Prevention Partnership (SCPP). The SCPP is made up of Council Compliance Officers and NSW Police.

    Council acknowledges the popularity of water refill stations and as such have included them with a number of suitable play space upgrades that have occurred across the City. These resources are considered in Masterplans.

    By following this page on Let's Chat. Simply, click 'Follow' to receive page updates.

    Let's Chat is Council's online engagement platform, by clicking 'Follow' on this project page you will receive the latest updates directly to your inbox.

    The best way to report an issue in a park or reserve is by lodging a request through Council’s eServices portal. Once you have submitted your request, you will receive a request number to track your enquiry.

    Reporting local issues | Shellharbour Council (nsw.gov.au)

    The best way to provide feedback on a park or reserve is by lodging a Customer Request through Council’s online portal. Once you have submitted your request, you will receive a request number to track your enquiry.

    Retiring equipment

    Planning open spaces

    Council’s Open Space and Recreation Needs Study and Strategy is the blueprint for open spaces across the City. The Strategy provides actions on how we can improve these spaces to best meet the needs of a growing population. You can read more about the actions that specifically relate to play spaces in Direction 1: Shape open spaces to encourage public recreation and relaxation

    Managing play spaces

    We know from community feedback that play spaces are highly valued, and it is a priority to provide a variety of safe and inclusive play opportunities across the City.

    Over the past few years, we have been working with the community to deliver improved play spaces, like Red Lamp Park, Lake Illawarra and Collins Reserve, Blackbutt. In some cases, improving play spaces has meant that equipment nearby is permanently retired.

    Each year play spaces with equipment are independently audited. The audit includes an inspection of equipment that is evaluated against Australian Standards. The audit identifies any maintenance and decommissioning required. In addition to the independent audits, Council staff also inspect and carry out maintenance on play equipment throughout the year.

    Retiring play equipment

    Recent inspections by both staff and external consultants identified equipment at the below playgrounds have reached the end of their useful life.

    In September 2023, certain pieces of equipment at the below four locations will be removed and retired:

    • Garrard Reserve, Mount Warrigal (unsafe items removed, leaving the existing free-standing swings in place)
    • Wattle Reserve, Barrack Heights (unsafe items removed, leaving the existing free-standing swings in place)
    • Stewart Park, Barrack Heights (all existing play equipment to be removed. A new, free-standing swing set will be installed)
    • Graham Park, Lake Illawarra (unsafe items removed, leaving the existing free-standing swings in place)

    Past feedback

    Here are some of the responses shared about 'What is the most important thing to see in playground'.

    What would you like to see in a playground?

    If your feedback relates to a specific location, please tell us.

    18 September, 2019

    Kayla says:

    Fenced parks for children with not just special need but also children who tend to explore More this will eliminate the extra stress

    16 September, 2019

    Luana Castro says:

    Gated parks where parents and grandparents can relax as the children play

    14 September, 2019

    Chrissi says:

    An all inclusive, fenced play area.

    14 September, 2019

    Tory says:

    an all inclusive fenced in plsygro u nd please

    14 September, 2019

    Melody says:

    An all-inclusive, fenced play area. Thank you.

    13 September, 2019

    Aye coquibus says:

    Fenced park

    13 September, 2019

    Debbie. says:

    All inclusive fenced area. equipment for children with special needs.

    13 September, 2019

    Ros says:

    I would like an inclusive, fenced area Thank you

    13 September, 2019

    Mon says:

    An all inclusive fenced in play area :)

    13 September, 2019

    Alyssa says:

    Reddall Reserve (windang st) an all inclusive play space that is fenced to minimise dangers for all children including with special needs

    13 September, 2019

    Alyssa says:

    Reddall Reserve (windang st) an all inclusive play space that is fenced to minimise dangers for all children including with special needs

    11 September, 2019

    zus says:

    At the Skiway park an.upgrade similar to Dawes pk which is inclusive of a few age groups would b lovely.

    29 November, 2018

    Dan says:

    Dawes Park , leave place to play soccer etc, More shade areas, fix tennis court, stop motorbikes.

    16 November, 2018

    Julie says:

    For Dawes Park, something similar to Little Park would be great. Need more shade areas and replace the cover over the BBQ that was removed.

    14 November, 2018

    Dani says:

    Mood park and frasers reserve will benefit from removing the bark and replacing it with the soft fall rubber. Water stations and flying fox

    14 November, 2018

    Emma says:

    Playground areas must be partly or fully shaded so they can be used in summer.

    12 November, 2018

    Miga says:

    Mow the grass more often at shearwater drive park. Replace woodchip with softplay. Empty bin more regularly and maintain equipment.

    12 November, 2018

    Miga says:

    Mow the grass more often at shearwater drive park. Replace woodchip with softplay. Empty bin more regularly and maintain equipment.

    12 November, 2018

    Supercarlo says:

    Fosters Park Flinders needs a complete overhaul.Equipment very old(at least 19 years old).Replace bark chips with soft fall surface.

    12 November, 2018

    Jackie says:

    Secure fencing, picnic tables, seating and shade. Natural elements are nice too. Keep the trees, build around them.

    12 November, 2018

    Gemma says:

    Rubber flooring, shade sails, toilets and seating areas close by. More inclusive play grounds for children with a disability.

    12 November, 2018

    Sarah says:

    Shade sails, fences, toilet blocks and tables and chairs are essential for any good play area. Small cafe is a bonus!

    12 November, 2018

    Pamela says:

    In all play areas they need sun protection on equipment much healthier for everyone.

    12 November, 2018

    Chad says:

    Would just like to see the same amount of money spent on the new park at shellharbour on these new parks. Especially Reddall

    Shellharbour plays

    Tell us what types of 'play' are important to you?

    When creating a play space, we consider how to accommodate different types of play that meet the needs of the community. Play spaces aims to encourage all-inclusive play so everyone can interact with the environment and others. Below are some 'play' categories, of course these aren’t the only ways in which we play, but these categories help us to broaden our understanding of play. Please tell us what categories are important to you?

    Must have
    Good to have
    Not bothered
    Active play - Running, jumping, climbing, swinging. Eg. Slides, swings, flying fox, rock walls
    Sensory play – Touching, smelling, hearing, seeing. Eg. Water, sand, musical instruments
    Creative and imaginative play – Building, singing, drumming, role play. Eg. Pirate ship, shop front
    Social play – Talking, sharing, taking turns, following “rules,” playing sports. Eg. talking tubes, flying fox, spinners
    Reflective play – Watching, resting, reflecting, thinking, daydreaming, and chill out zone. Eg. Nature play, tunnels, platforms

    Have you visited somewhere amazing and would love to see it in Shellharbour. Share it here.

    The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.

    Google Translate this page

    Contact Us

    Have questions or want to learn more about a project, contact us below:

    Name Recreation Planner
    Phone 4221 6111
    Email council@shellharbour.nsw.gov.au
    Website www.shellharbour.nsw.gov.au/