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

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 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)

Recently finished

Retiring equipment

Planning open spaces

Recently, Council invested in developing an updated Open Space and Recreation Needs Study and Strategy, that has looked at the open spaces across the City. The study has reviewed what open spaces we have and 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 (Open Space and Recreation Strategy, 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, 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 McDonald Park, Albion Park. In some cases, improving play spaces has meant that equipment 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

These audits have identified three smaller play facilities that have reached the end of their life cycle and as such their deteriorated state requires their full removal.

Last year (May 2020) , the equipment at these three play spaces was removed.

  • Marsh Place, Albion Park (swing set and slippery dip).
  • Fuller Park, Shellharbour (swing set).
  • Centenary Park (119 Tongarra Road) , Albion Park (swing set).

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
Okay
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.

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/