Have your say on Blackheath's Memorial Park

Heritage play equipment: Dick West built the play equipment which includes a vintage car, stage coach and a shoe. (There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, she had so many children she didn't know what to do.)
Heritage play equipment: Dick West built the play equipment which includes a vintage car, stage coach and a shoe. (There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, she had so many children she didn't know what to do.)

Blackheath's Soldiers Memorial Park, one of the four regional parks in the Mountains, is set for a major makeover.

As well as existing plans (already underway) to build a new amenities block close to the Rocket and to create a more accessible pathway from the duck pond to the swimming pool, council has now been given a $2 million funding boost from the NSW Government's Public Spaces Legacy Program.

The project will include upgrades to the play space and improvements to the duck pond, visitor facilities and surrounding landscape.

The Memorial Park, with its towering rhododendrons and large areas of sweeping lawns, is a popular spot for picnics, ball games. blah blah and just taking in the sun.

There is also a wide selection of play equipment in the park.

There are swings near the duck pond, an infant play space, the main play area with the Rocket and the heritage play equipment built by local Dick West (who built the original Rocket) which comprises a plane, a stage coach, a vintage car and an old shoe.

There are also myriad rhododendron "tunnels" providing places for children to explore.

But the four different areas are spread out, which adds to the maintenance cost for council.

On the other hand, centralising play spaces has benefits for carers who are supervising children.

Before council decides how to spend its legacy grant, it is seeking input from the community about what aspects are most important.

An online survey (which closes on December 13) canvasses views about the location of play equipment, the types of play favoured (climbing, running, imaginative, nature-based) and whether to remove fencing near the shallow end of the duck pond and replacing it with a platform to allow kids to observe ducks, turtles, frogs and fish.

In the meantime, the first sods have been turned for the new toilet block and the new accessible path area fenced off for construction.

The convenor of the Friends of Blackheath Pool and Memorial Park, Jennifer Kelly, said: "We are very pleased at the prospect of the new toilet block and new play equipment in this most beautiful and unique park. The toilet block has been beautifully designed to be in keeping with the park's heritage and we look forward to seeing a playground that will be an innovative and exciting addition to the park.

"The efforts of staff and councillors to make these improvements is much appreciated."

The mayor, Mark Greenhill, said: "We value what the community has to say about how this space is used and I therefore urge our residents to take this quick survey, to share their ideas for these improvements."

For more information or to have your say on the upgrade of Blackheath Soldiers Memorial Park by Monday, December 13 go to: yoursay.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/blackheath-memorial-park-legacy-project.