Splash park plans announced

25 Apr 2018 Benalla Ensign, Benalla VIC (General News) by Simon Ruppert Benalla is set to get its own splash park on the banks of the lake next to the Aquatic Centre. The park, a joint venture between the state government and Benalla Rural City Council, will be free to enter and is designed to be a space with shaded areas, tables and chairs where the community can meet. Mayor Don Firth said the park would be powered by a solar system, meaning ratepayers were not even on the hook for its electricity bill. The whole idea of a splash park came about one day when Jaclyn (Symes) said to me lets have a splash park in Benalla, Cr Firth said. It grew from there and fortunately weve been able to get some funding through Jaclyn, and the state government. Were going to be separating this area from the aquatic centre. It will be completely free and the public will enter from near the mural. There will be tables and chairs, so even if youre not using the splash park it will be a great community area. Were all excited about it. It is going to improve this whole area. Member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes secured a $48 000 Stronger Regional Communities Plan grant to help the council plan for the proposed recreation area. Ms Symes said she had longenvisioned a splash park for her home town on the banks of the lake and this funding helped design and plan an exciting facility. The design phase is critically important to ensure that the project is universally accessible, environmentally sustainable, and meets the needs of the Benalla community, and especially the young kids who will use it, Ms Symes said. Its important to explore and test the best design options for a modern splash park that Benalla families can be proud of. We have seen the success and popularity of splash parks in other country towns like Wangaratta and Yarrawonga, and Benalla parents have approached me asking for my help to get one for their town. I have a report from Mitchell Shire Council, which shows that the businesses around their splash park are saying they have tripled their take, they didnt open on Sunday, now they do. For me its something to do with the kids, but its also a tourism opportunity in itself. Youre going to have visitors coming here. So it will bring money into town and into local businesses. Roxanne Demasson, who recently oversaw the successful Wall to Wall festival, is looking forward to taking her kids to the splash park. This is fantastic, its going to be such a great space. Youll be able to come down, have a barbecue and watch the kids play, Ms Demasson said. Instead of travelling and getting home really late and sorting out tea for kids we can walk here. We actually travel to Shepparton to go to Jump on a Sunday to give the kids something to do. So to have a space in Benalla they can come to and have some fun is really exciting. The project is proposed to occupy the former outdoor middle and baby pool areas and the planning process will be overseen by Benalla Rural City Council. This project has been identified as a priority under the council Community Plan 2016-2036. The Stronger Regional Communities Plan aims to support country towns, attracting families and young people to live and work by investing in community-led projects that make country Victoria an even better place to live. The plan supports grants of up to $50 000 for projects that respond to community needs and show how they will improve a towns resilience. More information about applying for a grant can be found at www.rdv.vic.gov.au/regional-jobsand-infrastructure-fund/strongerregional-communities Caption Text: Splish, splash: Benalla Mayor Don Firth, Cr Danny Claridge, Cr Barbara Alexander, Cr Bernie Hearn and State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes met with local families to announce the new park and show them concept drawings.Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.