Disability Services Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk and State Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt today toured the proposed site of the new Sugarworld Gardens All Ability playground in Edmonton.Minister Palaszczuk

 Minister Palaszczuk said the Bligh Government had invested more than $4.6 million to 16 local councils across Queensland to develop the all abilities play spaces in collaboration with their local communities and industry experts, including Edmonton.

“The All Abilities Playgrounds Project- enabling participation in play, recognised the fundamental importance of play in the health, wellbeing and learning of all children, regardless of their age or ability,” Minister Palaszczuk said.

State Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said it was terrific to see community members’ ideas and visions woven into the design of the playground which aimed to maximise play opportunities for children of all ages and abilities.

“I applaud all those who have played a role in getting this wonderful project off the ground, including the dedicated people I met today, and encourage others to also have their say on design plans by contacting council,” Mr Pitt said.

“Obviously there is still some way to go before plans are finalised, but already we’re able to see the ‘all abilities’ focus of the project shine through, with things like soft-fall rubber surfacing forming part of the design discussion,” he said.

Project managers, Cairns Regional Council, has matched Government funding of $224,350 to plan, design and construct the all abilities play space in Edmonton in collaboration with the local community, industry specialists and Disability Services.

Divisional Councillor Nancy Lanskey said the all-inclusive playground would occupy about 3,000 square metres of the botanical gardens precinct and was being designed to complement existing facilities.

“The all abilities play space represents a new chapter in the life of Sugarworld Gardens,” Cr Lanskey said.

“Plans build on existing facilities, including picnic areas, to provide a safe, free community space where families can relax and enjoy recreational activities together.”

Other elements being considered include a sand and water play area, open play areas, a sensory garden, rope climbing, carousel and flying fox play equipment.

 ”My focus is on ensuring that all children, with or without a disability, can interact and have fun together, and that all people, including parents with a disability – like myself – and seniors, can be a part of this experience.

“It’s about removing physical and social barriers that may impede interaction, and to better meet the needs of people with a disability and the community in general,” Councillor Lanskey said.

The project is based on the award-winning Pioneer Park, located at Landsborough on the Sunshine Coast, and forms part of the State Government’s Best Start – Supporting Families in the Early Years initiative.

Construction of the Edmonton playground is expected to start around August.