Playground move forms part of long-awaited park upgrade

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Playground move forms part of long-awaited park upgrade

After almost five years of lying idle, the playground at the closed Tantanoola Primary School is set to be shifted to Lions Park in Millicent at an estimated cost of $36,000.

The 139-year-old school closed at the end of 2019 owing to falling enrolments and the site remains in State Government ownership.

However, Wattle Range Council chief executive Ben Gower told the June 25 special council meeting the playground move had the blessing of Dr Ruth Schubert who is the regional education director for the Coast and Vines.

Mr Gower said the proposal was now going through the bureaucratic approval processes.

He said the playground had passed an audit by council staff and the moving cost included the provision of soft fall material at Lions Park.

According to Mr Gower, the playground proposal was not part of council’s 2024/25 Budget but could be accommodated at the first budget review.

The council, local residents, Unity Housing, Millicent High School and the Millicent Lions Club have been planning to upgrade Lions Park for several years and formed a working party.

Community feedback suggests the upgrade will cost around $300,000 with the addition of toilets, a perimeter pump track, playground and community garden.

Unity Housing owns dozens of houses in the vicinity of Lions Park and took over ownership of them from the Housing Trust in 2017.

Councillor Dale Price said council lost around $100,000 per annum in rate revenue due to this ownership transfer.

He said this now amounted to $800,000 over a period of eight years and so Unity Housing and the State Government should be approached for a cash contribution to the Lions Park upgrade.

Cr Price said highlighting such requests through the media was often more effective than writing letters.

Cr Emma Castine also suggested that sponsorship could be obtained from major companies.

The special council meeting was called to consider feedback on the draft 2024/25 Budget.

Speaking on behalf of the Lions Park Working Party, Millicent Lions Park president David Taylor expressed his disappointment that no funding was provided in this financial blueprint.

Mr Taylor said his service club’s involvement in Lions Park dated back to the early 1970s and his group had earmarked a cash contribution of $5000 to the upgrade.

Meanwhile, children from the nearby Gladys Smiith Early Learning Centre recently spent a morning at Lions Park helping council personnel to plant some new fruit trees.

Afterwards they were treated to a sausage sizzle in the sunshine thanks to the Millicent Lions Club.

The new trees mark the beginning of the first stage of the Lions Park upgrade, a community project aimed at enhancing neighbourhood connection and community identity.

Lending assistance were Working Group members as well as councillors Dennis Muhovics and John Shelton and Mayoress Shari Noll.

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