News / Community / 17th February 2022
Inclusive Stop and Play Park gears up for opening
Coonabarabran’s Stop and Play Park is all but ready for happy faces and laughs to fill the new playground.
Installation of the equipment at eastern end of Neilson Park has been carried out, with finishing touches expected to be completed by the end of the month.
Originally slated for completion by 21 November 2021, work on the eagerly-awaited project was hampered due to wet weather conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The project was delayed due to the manufacturing facilities that were shut down due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, along with wet weather, supply chain difficulties and a contractor affected by COVID-19,” a Council spokesperson said.
The Stop and Play Park will provide an easily accessible, safe, shaded area for intergenerational play and activity. This includes a Liberty Swing, providing access to persons on wheelchairs.
“We are extremely grateful to the NSW government for this funding from the Stronger Country Communities round three funding and we are confident that this new Stop and Play facility will be enjoyed, not just by our local community, but the travelling public as well,” the Council spokesperson continued.
“We hope it will provide a welcome respite for travelling families to stop and play and support our local businesses along the way.”
More disabled facilities needed
Allan and Debbie Taylor, whose son Mitchell suffers from a rare genetic condition, praised the all inclusiveness of the park, but said it opened up a can of worms in regards to other non-existent facilities for the disabled in Coonabarabran.
Mitchell’s carer, Pam Ramage said in the past she had often driven as far as Dubbo or Gunnedah so Mitchell could use the Liberty Swings, while Debbie said she had travelled as far as Moree to take her son swimming, because that centre had the necessary facilities.
“When they’re building these facilities they need to get input from the right people,” Mrs Ramage said.
“Even now there are disabled toilets that have a step - now that is okay for some disabled people, but obviously not those in a wheelchair.
“The footpaths around town need to have better disabled access.
“Don’t get me wrong, this is a great project, but more needs to be done.”
Mrs Taylor agreed that while the Stop and Play Park was a good starting point, she said she hoped it would kick off the conversation needed about the disabled facilities - or lack thereof - across the Shire.
“I’d like to see the park expanded on to include the in-ground trampolines and the flying foxes that are designed for people with disabilities,” Mrs Taylor said.
“There needs to be more inclusiveness. However, this is a good start and the park will get a lot of use.
“But, as far as toilets go in town, there are none that Mitchell can use - I have to take him to the hospital to change him, otherwise I have to do it in the car.”
TOP: Mitchell Taylor with his mum, Debbie Taylor (right) and carer, Pam Ramage, outside Coonabarabran’s soon-to-be-opened Stop and Play Park, featuring a Liberty Swing for use by those in wheelchairs.