September 28, 2020
A heart-breaking plea from a South Burnett mother about the need for a safe playground for children with disabilities will reach a happy conclusion soon.
This week the South Burnett Regional Council released concept drawings for community consultation for a much-needed all-abilities playground for the region.
All going well, construction of the new playground will begin at Nanango’s Butter Factory Park in mid-December.
It is planned to open in mid to late January next year.
The $188,000 playground will be the first of its kind in the region, and has been jointly funded by the Nanango community, Nanango’s Heritage Bank and the South Burnett Regional Council.
The project began in May 2018 when when Nanango mother Cheryl Warner pointed out on social media she had to travel to Yarraman to access a limited special needs playground for her seven-year-old son Jai because no such facility existed in the South Burnett.
Her plea quickly led to an informal community group being formed to drive the project.
Soon afterwards, Nanango’s Heritage Bank announced it would fund the project on a $3-for-$1 basis to match funds raised by the community.
The community fundraising drive kicked off in September 2018 with a casino night organised by the Nanango Tourism and Development Association, and this was followed in succeeding months by everything ranging from raffling off a ride-on mower to a zombie walk.
Last September, the final community fundraising effort – an “Eat In The Street” dinner for 160 guests held in Little Drayton Street – led to the announcement that more than $20,000 had been raised – a figure that has since expanded to $25,000.
And with Heritage’s contribution, the project was effectively a goer.
South Burnett Regional Council lent its support to the project soon after fundraising began. It also put funding towards it from grants from the Drought Communities Fund and Works For Queensland.
The new park will be fully fenced and will feature a sensory garden.
All the playground equipment will be accessible for wheel chairs, and there will be a netted swing and bike paths surrounding it.
The play area of the park will be covered with shade sails, and other features will be tailored to children with disabilities.
Nanango resident Jane Erkens, who helped form the fundraising committee and played a lead role in several of the fundraising events, said she was delighted to see the project come to fruition.
“It’s a huge credit to the Nanango community that we managed to raise such an impressive amount in just over a year of fundraising,” Jane said.
“Now we’re looking forward to seeing the park plans become a reality.”
Jane said she thought it was important to have an all-inclusive park in the region because it would allow children from all walks of life to play together.
It will also allow parents to feel safe when taking their children to the park.
“It’s fabulous to finally see these plans come to life,” Jane said.
“It’s been a long time coming but I would really like to thank everyone involved for their hard work.
“This is a park the whole town has built.”
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