Horsham council staff have not yet provided concept designs of a Regional Water Play Park for the city, but they say these are not far off.
In a webinar on Thursday night, council staff Carolynne Hamdorf and Sue Newall were joined by Johnny Gorton, chair of the Community Reference Group formulating plans for the sub-precinct of the council's City to River masterplan in which the water park is proposed to be built.
At the meeting, Ms Hamdorf said the proposed space for the park was between cabins at the Horsham caravan park and Eastgate Drive, near the Wimmera River.
"We want to have a very keen eye that the engagement that we do through this precinct work is transparent and actually addresses needs for the community," she said.
"That was some of the feedback we heard through the masterplanning process. We want to do this work better."
They stressed the plan was still being adjusted, and that the CRG would meet on Tuesday August 4, when they hoped the group would sign off on the draft concept plan.
Once this happens, staff said at the meeting, the plan will become public.
The council has applied to Sport and Recreation Victoria for $3 million to help fund the project.
"Generally grants take six months to process, this will be relatively soon, so the intention is to promote post-COVID or COVID stimulus outcomes into the regions with sport and recreation infrastructure," Ms Hamdorf said.
"The CRG has a remit to do two things, which comes out of a council resolution at the end of last year. To identify a site for a cafe in this precinct and also to look at the water play feature."
At its meeting on November 25, the council endorsed the City to River masterplan with several amendments, one of them:
"Riverfront Sub-Precinct - Commence implementation of concept and schematic design for the riverfront improvements, including the splash park and site selection for the cafe/restaurant."
"They are the two things we need to consider as part of our design. Where and how they locate within that precinct is what we've been seeking input form community around, and the consultations to date have been useful," Ms Hamdorf said. "Thank you to all the groups and clubs that have participated in that process."
Ms Newall said the proposed park had been designed to incorporate water into "natural play elements".
"The elements in the space are fitting with the area: We're not having lots of colours," she said. "This is amound using wood, sand and water as a play area.
"You use handpumps, creekbeds, rocks, to actually play in a natural way so children can control the water as it goes through the cycle.
"There is not large volumes of water anticipated to be going through the site, and what is coming out at the other end, ideally the council is looking at recycling that water back into our irrigation systems.
"It is desgned to be all-accessible, which is a criteria of the grant we applied for.
"We've had a lot of conversations with the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority about flooding and how it might work in a zone that is right next to the river. Also our Traditional Owners and DELWP have been involved because there are a number of requirements and limitations around that space.
"The Cultural Heritage Management which we are having completed at the moment. That report will be done and delivered to the council at the end of August."
Ms Newall said the park had been designed in keeping with the feedback left during the development of the City to River masterplan.
The council staff gathered questions written by audience members, saying they would provide collective answers back via a Question and Answer sheet that will be displayed on the Council website, along with the webinar.
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