The community has been involved every step of the way to help us co-design improvements to Apex Park in Stratford.
To do this, we developed an engagement process founded on the co-design principles of accessibility and inclusiveness to ensure the community, and especially children, had genuine input into the design of the park.
We asked the community to help us co-design the following improvements to Apex Park, including:
- a new BMX/pump track
- a new nature-based playground
- a mural (completed)
- selecting the plants that will be planted around the park.
We have now finalised the design of the new nature-based playground and BMX/pump track. Construction is underway and is scheduled for completion in the coming months.
The BMX/pump track was a hit with the community, especially local children. You told us to include plenty of rollers, jumps and corners and supported the inclusion of circuits for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. The track also has a start/finish line as requested by the local children.
In addition to bike riders, the design accommodates a variety of users of different ages and abilities including skateboarders, scooter riders and rollerbladers.
Harmony flowers are interactive flowers that sing when struck. This item was chosen by Stratford Primary School and St. Patrick’s Primary School students to replace the talking tubes that were removed from the design due to community feedback regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) hygiene.
Ensuring improvements are accessible to all children was a high priority for Stratford locals. The accessible spinner will allow wheelchair access for inclusive play.
Balance bar, logs and rocks
Balancing logs and fallen climbing logs are for balance, agility and exploration. This item was voted third-most popular. We heard that this kind of play inspires children’s imagination and develops balance in a different way.
Climbing rope course
The ropes course was the most popular piece of play equipment. The children of Stratford told us that they enjoy climbing at Apex Park and requested more challenging climbing ropes, which have been incorporated into the design. The new ropes course provides climbing, scrambling and balancing for all skill levels.
The basket swing was the second-most popular item. The children of Stratford made sure the basket swing could fit more than one person.
We had several requests for additional seating to be included in the final design.
Included in the new sheltered areas are seating platforms and concrete walls which will provide opportunities for informal seating and hangout areas to allow viewing of both the BMX/pump track and the playground.
Providing additional sheltered areas to Apex Park was important to Stratford locals. The shelters have been oriented so that one shelter looks out over the playground and another over the BMX/pump track.
We engaged Avon Landcare Group and social enterprise Moogji Aboriginal Council East Gippsland to develop and design the vegetation in Apex Park. Indigenous plants will improve the environment surrounding Apex Park, the new bridge and the Avon River.
There were requests for more bins and a water fountain in Apex Park which has been included in the final design.
Why a nature-based playground?
Nature-based play areas encourage exploration and interaction for children of different ages and abilities. A nature and adventure play focus was chosen due to the playground’s proximity to the Avon River and native vegetation, which Wellington Shire Council and the community supported.
Thank you Stratford
We would like to thank you for your feedback and involvement in co-designing Apex Park.
A special shout-out to students from Stratford Primary School and St Patrick’s Primary School for their expert help in designing the new playground and BMX/pump track, to the Avon Landcare Group for its guidance with the park’s revegetation, and to the Stratford Historical Society for its assistance with the mural.
Here are few of our favourite photos from the community day, held in February 2020.
Click on any image to enlarge it and then use the arrows or your keyboard to scroll through the gallery.