Cataract Gorge playspace upgrade set for construction in 2018
Published on 10 April 2018
City of Launceston Aldermen this week unanimously voted to approve the Development Application for a playspace upgrade at the Cataract Gorge's First Basin.
The City of Launceston called for public feedback on the proposal earlier this year before lodging a Development Application for the project.
The upgrade will see the existing playground updated to a more accessible and contemporary natural playspace, which can better withstand flood events.
The work is being undertaken as part of the Reimagining the Cataract Gorge Project, which the Council developed in consultation with the Northern Tasmanian community throughout 2014 and 2015, and is designed to guide development at the Cataract Gorge until 2030.
The proposed upgrade would see the existing play area directly in front of the cafe and public amenities transformed into a vibrant new nature-based play zone featuring disabled access, a children's amphitheatre, a water play zone, native plantings, boulders, tree trunks, a sand pit, an accessible swing set, a tunnel slide, a giant mouse-wheel treadmill and an extended forecourt outside the amenities building.
Importantly, the new play area would be built to the same level as the existing public amenities, meaning access to the site will be easier for parents, grandparents and people with disabilities.
With the Development Application approved at this week's Council meeting, Council officers will now begin preparation of the tender documentation required for the project; a process that will likely be complete and ready for advertising towards the end of May.
The Council hopes to see construction begin early in the 2018-19 financial year, with work completed before Christmas, and well ahead of the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards which will be held in Launceston on Friday, March 1, 2019.
Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the play area would be transformed into a more natural and engaging play area.
"As many people would be aware, the existing playground at the Cataract Gorge has passed its use by date," Mayor van Zetten said.
"It has been impacted by a number of flood events in recent memory — four in the space of a single year in 2016 — but it's reached the end of its life.
"One of the clear objectives of the Reimagining the Gorge project is to replace run down and tired infrastructure, because it detracts from the overall visitor experience.
"This project will give us the opportunity to construct something more attractive, more accessible, more in keeping with the Cataract Gorge's natural assets, and more suited to withstanding the regular inundation of the lawn area.
"Construction during the winter months will no doubt pose some challenges, however we're hopeful of having the project completed before the busy Christmas period so Northern Tasmanian families really have another fantastic reason to visit Launceston's Cataract Gorge over summer.
"We're also keenly aware that the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards are going to be hosted in Launceston early next year, and the State Government is supporting that great initiative with $200,000 in funding; it will be wonderful for our city.
"We look forward to being able to showcase the best of Launceston, and the best of the Cataract Gorge, when the awards arrive in Launceston next March.
"The proposal was very well received during the public consultation process in January, and we're grateful for the support the people of Launceston have shown for the upgrade."