MORE than 30 play spaces could be decommissioned as part of the Greater Bendigo Public Space Plan but council intends to introduce 26 new playgrounds over the same time.
The long-term plan was adopted by council in July, 2018, with two playgrounds removed so far. Council currently manages 134 publicly accessible play spaces
Melbury Court, which is being defended by a group of Epsom residents, is slated as the next play space to be removed. A listening post is being held on Wednesday at 6pm for community members.
City of Greater Bendigo public space design coordinator said if Melbury Court is removed it will be the last one this financial year.
"Over the life of the plan it is anticipated 31 play spaces will decommissioned or removed and 26 new play spaces (will be installed) in different places.
"The life of this is roughly 20 years, so it is quite a long-term plan. (The removals) are only proposed in strategy, all of those will involve community engagement. Every time we remove (a playground) we are engaging."
Mr Lindsay said the plan worked to ensure if a playground was removed, another nearby was renewed or upgraded.
"What we're trying to do, like at Melbury Court, is where a play space is removed, we renew or upgrade one nearby," he said.
"The rationale around (what we're trying to do) that is to try and get a more even distribution (of play spaces) but to also lift the quality of those spaces.
"Bendigo has a lot open space but a lot of poor-quality (play spaces)."
The different levels of playground include neighbourhood (similar to Melbury Court in Epsom), suburban (similar to Truscott Reserve in California Gully) and municipal (similar to Crooks Street, Strathdale).
"When we do engage at a neighbourhood level, I often ask if someone would rather live five minutes from a (small) neighbourhood playground or 15 minutes from a suburban-sized one," Mr Lindsay said. "It is interesting to hear people's opinions and often people prefer to be close to a bigger playground.
"We have been investing quite heavily in playspaces and winning a national award last week for the Eaglehawk playground is a great example of the level of investment we are putting in and the quality of the spaces."
Mr Lindsay said the use of the land after a play space has been removed can vary.
"In a lot of cases it might be Crown Land or serve another purpose such as containing other utility infrastructure. It may (also) still be important for pedestrian connectivity," he said.
Mr Lindsay said he appreciated hearing people enjoying and utilising the play spaces.
"I appreciate people don't want to see the loss of any play space but it's about picking the quality and distribution of them," he said. "That's the case in Epsom, you do have three spaces relatively close together.
"My role is in open space infrastructure, so it's great to hear people are using the spaces. With Melbury Court, the feedback we are getting ahead of the listening post, will (help) determine what happens."
Mr Lindsay said during the last six years only three play spaces have been removed. Two of those were part of the Public Space Plan adopted in July last year.
"One was in Sibley Place, close to the Strathdale Park and many people accepted it was a good with the (upgraded) facility around the corner," he said. "The other was in Derwent Drive in Long Gully, which had two play spaces on the same street and, once again, it was one (playground) upgraded and one removed."
Playgrounds in Westbury Estate in Maiden Gully and the Top Paddock Estate in Ascot will be developed by the end of this year.
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