Red dragon playground to grace Hargreaves Mall before Easter 

A red dragon playground will be installed in Hargreaves Mall before Easter. 

Councillors endorsed the colourful design at last night’s council meeting with hopes it will attract families to the mall. 

James Williams said the children who voted in favour of the dragon had chosen a symbolic design. 

“It’s a theme for Bendigo,” he said. “We’re all aware of issues with the mall and if this draws more people to the mall it will be a job well done.” 

Peter Cox said the playground would be a small step in returning people to the area. 

“We’ve got a challenge now for getting it up and running before Easter,” he said. 

“Let’s not think it’s a response to economic downturn in the mall... that’s a much larger issue.”

Lisa Ruffell, who owns a business in the mall, declared a conflict of interest and Elise Chapman and Helen Leach voted against the proposal. 

“I don’t believe this project will achieve what it sets out to do,” Cr Chapman said.

She said the playground should be placed away from the centre of town. “The money needs to be evenly spread,” she said.

“It’s time for us to see Bendigo in its entirety, not just the CBD.”

Rod Campbell disagreed and said there were plans for several playgrounds around the municipality.

“It’s an absolutely tremendous and sound investment in the city,” he said.

“Many people would like to take their children there to enjoy that facility.” 

Barry Lyons noted the play space would be replacing the old playground that was removed during streetscape upgrades and Mark Weragoda said it would be “fabulous”.

But Helen Leach said it wasn’t playgrounds that attracted people to the area. “Shops attract shoppers, sales attract shoppers,” she said.

“There are already too many obstructions. It’s like an obstacle course.” 

This year’s budget set aside $150,000 for the playground. 

Children aged four to six voted overwhelmingly in favour of the red dragon design.

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