The Weekly Advertiser Horsham
Parks ‘pop up’ in Stawell, Halls Gap
Halls Gap and Stawell have two ‘popup parks’ as part of a municipal effort to provide new spaces for residents and tourists to gather in Northern Grampians Shire.
Northern Grampians Shire Council has established the parks with $250,000 from the State Government through the Local Councils Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package.
The parks are at 71-75 Main Street, Stawell, and 99 Grampians Road, Halls Gap.
The Stawell pop-up park is a joint project with Stawell Regional Health, which has temporarily provided a portion of its car park for the purpose.
An anonymous philanthropist has provided land short term for the Halls Gap park.
Both parks are on the main shopping strips of the centres to encourage people to rest while visiting traders and to help stimulate the economy.
The council is promoting the parks’ capacity of 30 people seated or 100 people standing as potential venues for relatively small events.
The Halls Gap park layout has ‘potential for hosting a small musical gig, cinema night, pop-up art shows or other community-led events’, with council permission.
Landscape designer and sensory-garden specialist Felicity Brown of Laimiga has designed the parks.
The parks include refectory-style dining furniture, market-style umbrellas and sensory gardens.
Dementia-supportive elements are part of the landscape design of the Stawell park.
To reduce waste, the parks are made from recyclable natural materials with an emphasis on incorporating the natural environment – such as a raised earthen stage for events at Halls Gap.
Council staff were involved in the fabrication of planter boxes, furniture and plantings and each park has a mural.
St Arnaud artist Kyle Torney is painting the Halls Gap mural. The mural features regional Aboriginal youth and emerging leaders.
Wimmera artist Nichola Clarke is working on the Stawell park mural.
Mrs Clarke worked with students from Skene Street Specialist School, who provided drawings to be incorporated into the mural. To meet the brief of dementia-friendly art, Mrs Clarke has designed the mural to feel like an ‘I Spy’ challenge.
After completion, the parks will remain in use for several years.
They are open to the public, with the council planning an official launch during spring school holidays.
A community survey has occurred to determine names for the temporary parks and the council will announce details in due course.
Northern Grampians mayor Murray Emerson said many people had been curious to know more about the project.
He said he was confident people would use the parks.
“The funding has helped to provide an uplifting and all-abilities accessible area that promotes connection and encourages us all to be social outdoors again,” he said.
“I encourage residents and tourists alike to consider adopting these popup parks as regular meeting places and outdoor event venues.
“They look very welcoming, restful and harmonious in their settings.”