Community / News / Featured / 24th March 2022
Potential costly hurdle for Stop and Play Park
While Coonabarabran’s new Stop and Play Park has been widely celebrated by the community, this week the Warrumbungle Shire Council project hit an unfavourable roadblock, forcing the sudden closure of the site to the public.
Located at the eastern end of Neilson Park, the new playground has been identified as a safety concern by Essential Energy due to overhead powerlines.
A spokesperson from Essential Energy said the issue related to a high voltage powerline that ran directly overhead.
“The park is currently closed to the public pending discussions between Essential Energy and Warrumbungle Shire Council to determine the most appropriate course of action to resolve the issue,” the spokesperson said.
In a reply to the Coonabarabran Times, Warrumbungle Shire Council general manager, Roger Bailey, said the construction of a playground under the power lines was not permittted and was contrary to ISSC 20 Guideline for the Management of Activities within Electricity Easements and Close to Electricity Infrastructure.
“While underground services were investigated during the early stages of the project, we failed to identity the requirements associated with the overhead powerlines (other than clearance issues).
“Council is seeking advice from Essential Energy on potential options.”
Mr Bailey also outlined the next steps for Council:
•Staff have been instructed to fence off the playground and close it until the matter can be resolved;
• Staff will meet on site with Essential Energy to determine options and the most practical resolution;
• Staff will alert the funding body to the situation; and
• Staff will conduct a full review of the project to identify further improvement in project management procedures.
“It is expected that this will take some months to resolve depending on the decision made and the availability of contractors,” Mr Bailey said.
The Coonabarabran Stop and Play Park is a $300,000 project funded by the NSW Government under the Stronger Country Communities Fund Round 3.
The idea for an inclusive playground in Coonabarabran was first conceived in 2019 following Council’s request for submissions from community groups.
The location of the playground was determined by its close proximity to the Newell Highway and existing toilet facilities.
The concept design of the playground was completed by Council with the contract awarded to Forpark Australia, a leading manufacturer of playground equipment with almost 40 years industry experience.
The final design was completed by the contractor’s in- house design experts and prior to construction commencing, a check on services was carried out to locate the underground services identified in the “dial before you dig” plans.
Shade sails were installed by Central Industries, while Council staff cleared the site and constructed footpaths.
Equipment and shade sails were completed by early February, with softfall installed on 10 March.
Finishing touches to the new space - permanent fencing, landscaping and seating - were yet to be undertaken.
IMAGE: Essential Energy has identified overhead powerlines at Coonabarabran’s new Stop and Play Park as a cause of concern.