The big kid in Marianne Saliba just couldn’t resist.
But as soon as the Shellharbour mayor hopped on the new zip-line flying fox at Little Park, the doubts surfaced.
“I’m not so sure of this...is it too late to change my mind?” Ms Saliba asked.
It was too late.
The Mercury photographer and countless parents and children armed with iPhones were already snapping photos in anticipation.
So Ms Saliba relented and took on the flying fox.
“That was fun,” she said before heading off to complete her official duties of opening the new playground in Shellharbour Village.
More than 12 months in the making, Little Park was largely designed by children.
Shellharbour Council invested $360,000 towards the project but they were guided by a major community engagement process, including workshops with schools, online and social media feedback.
More than 20,000 people shared their ideas.
Most feedback was from students, including 115 Corpus Christi High School students who gathered student feedback, participated in design and budgeting workshops and then used Minecraft to bring the design to life.
Students from Stella Maris Primary School and Shellharbour Primary School also contributed to the new playground constructed by Creative Recreation Solutions.
“I must say a huge thank you to all of the students and residents who contributed their ideas and suggestions,” Ms Saliba said.
“Students participated in design and budgeting workshops, which directly influenced the playground you see here today.
“Consultation to the wider community reached almost 20,000 people. Additionally, feedback from local residents helped to shape the park design, including community views on incorporating the fig tree in a nature play space.
“And the end result of this partnership between our community and your council is this wonderful facility.”
Those who contributed to the design, including Stella Maris student Adella Hopkins, were “blown away” with the new and improved Little Park.
“I feel excited and happy that something I helped design will be enjoyed by children for years to come,” the 10-year-old said.
Shellharbour Public School students Lachlan Lome and Claire Barter added the new design made the park ideal for little and big kids alike.
The new playground features:
- Accessible play equipment
- Play tower with slides, flying fox, swings
- Nature play, tree fort with climbing activities
- Rock climbing wall, climbing net, rope bridge
- Musical play instruments, tactile play, in-ground trampoline