■ MERRY GO ROUND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMME
Client: City of Greater Geraldton
Size of Development: Under 10,000m2
Cost of Development: Proposed cost of implementation of Concept Plan excess of $3 million
Location: Geraldton Centres
‘Merry Go Round By The Sea’ (also known as the ’50 cent swing’) is an iconic children’s play structure on the Geraldton foreshore. Following a decision to bolt down the Merry Go Round and the strong community opposition to this decision, the City of Greater Geraldton appointed Rowe Group to undertake a community engagement programme in 2011.
The Merry Go Round by the Sea has long been a focal point on the Geraldton foreshore. It was originally erected in 1921 and later replicated in its current form. It has been a childhood gathering place for generations of Geraldton residents, and was featured in the Geraldton-born author Randolph Stow’s novel ‘Merry Go Round In The Sea’.
After encountering strong community opposition for bolting down the swing for public liability reasons, the City of Greater Geraldton passed a resolution in November 2010 that required community consultation in matters relating to the landmark.
Rowe Group was appointed to undertake a community engagement programme and develop an innovative design approach for the preservation of the historic attraction and the improvement of the surrounding area.
Achieving community consensus and support was a challenging task as there was still strong opposition to the bolting of the swing and a negative sentiment towards the City.
Rowe Group developed a series of three workshops based on a ‘charette’ technique that would allow the local community to air their grievances and put forward ideas for a renewed Merry Go Round Precinct. The first workshop focused on the community’s vision, memories and values associated with the landmark; the second workshop asked participants to list the elements they’d like to see in the design; and the third was a review session of three concept plans prepared by Landscape Architect, Pullybank Pty Ltd.
Rowe Group then presented the concepts to the targeted user group (older children and teenagers) and presented the preferred option before the Council, who gave their in-principle support.
In January 2013, the project received $1.94 million of Royalties for Regions funding. The redeveloped precinct will feature:
- Merry Go Round fixed in a swinging motion, potentially with bronze sculptures of children;
- Timber decking, seating and lighting;
- The preservation of the iconic Morton Bay fig tree;
- Sensory wall and garden behind Old Railway Station;
- Interpretive signage detailing historic significance;
- New playground equipment with parkour walls and soft fall surface on the ground;
- A Lookout tower; and
- Shelter, shade trees and barbeques.
Images Copyright Pullyblank Pty Ltd