Clever thinking builds community assets in Dunoon

Friday, 08 September 2017

A new playground at Balzer Park in Dunoon was opened this evening by Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith and Lismore MP Thomas George.

The facility has been in the making since 2015, when the North East Community Panel facilitated by Lismore City Council identified a lack of playground equipment at Balzer and Tamarind parks to cater for locals and visitors.

Instead of simply waiting for something to happen, the North East Community Panel came up with an ingenious solution that they put to Council: sell a pocket park in Cedar Drive, Dunoon, to fund the installation of a new playground at Balzer Park.

“Rather than come to Council with a problem, the North East Community Panel came with a ready-made solution, and it’s a great example of innovative thinking to achieve community goals,” Council's Community Engagement and Partnering Officer Catherine Rosenbaum said.

“Council has formed a collaborative and productive partnership with the community throughout this process, consulting with those affected, identifying a suitable location and choosing suitable equipment to install.”

The community effort did not stop there. On top of profits from the sale of the pocket park in excess of $100,000, a further contribution of $15,000 was secured through the NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership Grant by the Dunoon & District Sports Club.

The funds did not extend to include everything on the original wish list, but the Panel members have already volunteered their time and skills to complete pathways and landscaping works under the direction of Council.

“While the community consultation played a big role in the final choice of equipment, some compromises had to be made due to price and ongoing maintenance,” Catherine explained.

“This is still a big win for the community and proves what can be achieved by everyone working together.”

Catherine said that Tamarind Park had not been forgotten. She said the facilities have recently been cleaned and the picnic setting repainted. The North East Community Panel also secured funds through Council’s Annual Community Grants Scheme to install a sign with a tourist map and general notice board.

“The Panel is also working towards getting a set of swings and more picnic tables installed in Tamarind Park as a future project. There is no stopping them now!” Catherine laughed.

“This is such an active community and a great Panel to work with. They are an asset to the Dunoon community.”

Image: Opening the new Balzer Park playground in Dunoon are Lismore MP Thomas George and Mayor Isaac Smith (centre) with (l-r) North East Community Panel members Bronwen Campbell, Denis Matthews, Ross McDougall and Trevor Tuckey, Councillor Darlene Cook and Council’s Community Engagement and Partnering Officer Catherine Rosenbaum.

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