Community News

Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis at the wheel of the new ‘Phoenix’ galleon ship. Image: Contributed

Revitalisation of two community spaces in Grafton starting to take shape

The revitalisation of two important community spaces in Grafton are underway with Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons and Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis taking time out of their busy schedules to have a closer look at works at the new playground at Jacaranda Park and Ellem Oval.

Both projects received the backing of the NSW Government with $800,000 in funding being provided toward the projects under the Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Passers-by of Jacaranda Park would have noticed the new playground is taking shape and the “Phoenix” – the name voted number one by the community to the galleon ship – is beginning to rise. The ship will form part of one of the largest inclusive playgrounds to be installed anywhere in Australia.

Construction of the new $1.2m playground commenced in August and the works are progressing well. The next phase of the upgrade includes the installation of drainage, soft fall, and landscaping as well as furniture.

Redevelopment works have also commenced at Ellem Oval located in the Fisher Park complex, home to both local cricket and AFL clubs. Works on the wicket realignment and levelling was completed in October, with the next phase of the project seeing the renewal of fencing and an upgrade to the irrigation system.

Once complete, it will mark the final stage of the redevelopment of Fisher Park which has seen major upgrades to the hockey complex and tennis courts, making it one of the region’s top sporting precincts.

Mr Chris Gulaptis said the whole community benefitted when council worked in partnership with government to improve social and physical infrastructure.

“These two projects were a priority of Clarence Valley Council and I am thrilled the NSW Government was able to provide support in helping revitalising these important community spaces,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“The Stronger Country Communities Fund is precisely for this reason – to kick start the delivery of projects which improve community infrastructure and services.”

Clarence Valley Council Mayor Jim Simmons said he was really pleased with the progress being made with both projects.

“Everyone knows about the health and wellbeing benefits from community facilities like these but the benefits to the local community in social interaction and increased participation are just as important,” Cr Simmons said.

The playground at Jacaranda Park is designed using the latest inclusive play space guidelines Everyone Can Play in NSW and will provide all abilities access when it opens in December. The Ellem Oval upgrade is also expected to be completed in December.

The Jacaranda Park upgrade is funded by $500,000 from NSW Government and $760,000 from Clarence Valley Council. Ellem Oval has been fully funded by the NSW Government ($295,000).

Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis going over Ellem Oval redevelopment plans with Council Industry & Engagement Officer, David Sutton. Image: Contributed