Alvin Kirby, Lead Designer for the parkland has worked closely with the team at OCT to make sure the transformation of the space achieves the environmental, community and economic goals that were set out for the project.
“Warril Parkland is home to various native flora and fauna, including endangered species, so preservation of existing significant vegetation and native habitat has been one of the key objectives of the project,” says Alvin.
The park is adjacent to an area of regulated vegetation and includes a playground which has been sensitively designed and constructed within a regrowth forest. Warril Parkland provides users with the opportunity to enjoy, relax and engage in the natural environment.
The creation of a park in Larapinta responds to the increasing demand for open space and recreation opportunities, as a result of population growth and new housing in the locality. “The site itself isn’t surrounded by housing, there’s a nature reserve on one side and a large industrial facility on the other so I wondered how long it would take before people got to know about it. However, the park has been popular since the first day it opened,” says Alvin.
The nature play area is in two parts, the adventure play space features large scale timber climbing structures, a flying fox and swings constructed from iron bark logs. A secondary space for younger children features smaller scale log play, scrambling sandstone blocks, a water play area with natural boulders, a tree shower and an interactive sand and water play map table. The toilet design incorporates concrete pipes, whilst the picnic tables and seats use precast concrete elements, such as culvert forms, typically associated with large scale civil/water infrastructure.
Rust coloured paint finish has been used throughout the project on the seat backs, barrier posts, bollards and cycle racks. This colour is a good fit for the natural surrounds and really helps to visually tie all the built elements together.
The park design creates an engaging place for various activities, such as bushwalking, picnics, play or just sitting in a natural setting with an attractive view. From the outset we wanted to celebrate the picturesque qualities of the lagoon you pass as you enter the site, with its still body of water reflecting the sky and surrounding vegetation. Picnic areas and a floating pontoon have been designed on an isthmus of land next to the lagoon to give users the water’s edge experience. “I’m naturally drawn to the water and so the picnic area on the isthmus is my favourite part of the design,” says Alvin.
Wherever possible we aim to integrate inclusive opportunities in the design of our playgrounds. A variety of experiences which can either be enjoyed by wheelchair users directly, or at a minimum, will enable wheelchairs to get close to an area of activity so that users can get close to the action. The design of the picnic tables allows wheelchairs to be placed alongside the seating. Another specific inclusion is the water play map table, which allows a wheelchair to push beneath so that users can operate the hand pump and engage with the sand and water play.
Warril Parkland is the first priority project identified in the OCT Master Plan. It is the start of a comprehensive long-term plan that will guide the creation of the future parkland, including outcomes such as new leisure and sport-based recreation activities, economic hubs, tourism, cultural heritage interpretation, environmental education and connections for people and wildlife.
Image credit: Ravens At Odds