Horseshoe Bay Reserve Playground
Stage 2

A new and expanded playground

Existing equipment in Horseshoe Bay playground

The South West Rocks Sport and Recreation Association have worked closely with Kempsey Shire Council to create the new and expanded playground in the Horseshoe Bay Reserve.

Stage 1 was completed and opened in late 2016 following extensive community engagement to develop the concept designs and to agree which equipment to prioritise within the available budget.

Construction of stage 2 is expected to start in July 2017 thanks to the contributions of generous community fundraisers and donations from many local businesses.

Equipment to be included will be swings for different age groups, a sky climber, a play kitchen, and many new pieces of equipment. A new play centre, specifically designed for toddlers, will also be featured as part of Stage 2.

Council is encouraging the community to provide feedback on this specific piece of equipment for the playground.

Feedback from community members and research by the South West Rocks Sports and Recreation Association has narrowed the options down to four. Residents and visitors can view photos of the four styles of play centre being considered along with dimensions and features. Once you have viewed the four different styles and chosen which one you think is most suitable, simply complete the short online survey by going to 

The survey closes on Friday 24 March to allow the equipment to be ordered ahead of the planned installation in mid-July.

The project

Horseshoe Bay playground - sketch plan proposals

In 2013/2014 Council worked closely with the community to develop a Master Plan for the Horseshoe Bay Reserve. One of the areas identified for improvement in this plan was the young family precinct and particularly the existing playground, which is well past its replacement date.

An expanded playground of approximately 2,700 square meters (up from 300) has been designed, incorporating the natural slope and existing footpaths of the space.

The Master Plan also identified the need to include additional BBQ facilities and a larger group picnic shelter in this area. Also required in this young family precinct is an amenities block in order to reduce the need for people with young children to cross the road and walk a long way away from the playground to use existing amenities.

Funding is available within Council’s current budget to undertake a large proportion of the playground but not the amenities and shelters. These auxillary items will require much more than this. Grant funding is being considered in order to achieve the new amenities block and other infrastructure.

Community feedback

In June/July of 2016 Council conducted a community survey to get feedback on how the playground is used and the draft plans. Information about the survey reached more than 5,000 people through Council’s social media and promotion in the newspaper, with almost 90 people completing the survey.

Survey results:

Playground climbing structure and slide
  • 80% said the concept design would suit the age of the children they would take there
  • The equipment rated as the highest priorities was: Flying fox, Mammoth nest swing, Water play, Climbing structure and slides
  • Feedback suggested more equipment was needed for toddlers
  • Shade and seats were ranked as the most important landscaping features - the construction plans include 18 tress and 12 seats

A number of comments also suggested the park needed a barrier or fencing to make the interface with the road safer. The project team have given this issue careful consideration taking into account the budget impact, best practice design and feedback from other Councils.

In order to maintain a natural playground, encourage active supervision and be able to afford a range of play equipment, the park edging will be created with wide natural plant beds and hedges as well as seating. Three speed humps on the access roads will also be added as well as formalising parking bays, in order to increase safety and driver visibility.

Taking this feedback and the budget into consideration the following equipment will be installed in the initial construction phase:

Playground equipment
  • Mammoth nest swing
  • Slides and stepping logs, timber balance beams, timber tepee
  • Twista
  • Wild surfer
  • Swing set
  • Double flying fox

The water play area costs in excess of $50,000 and has been put on hold awaiting potential fundraising or grant funding. Other equipment such as the Skyclimber and Double Bay swing won’t be initially included based on feedback about age appropriateness and priorities.

Council have applied for grant funding to enable construction of the proposed amenities block. A proposed new shelter will also be reviewed as funding becomes available.