THE littlies of Bendigo are about to break the hearts of two grown men. A third will be smiling broadly.
This week, Greater Bendigo Community Wellbeing director Pauline Gordon released three designs for the mall playground, and introduced the three men whose units were responsible for the designs.
Gary Lantzsch, a landscape architect, Lincoln Fitzgerald, recreation manager, and Orrin Hogan, of the “natural and passive reserves” department, have each been sweating over their teams’ designs for the long-disputed mall playground.
The winning design will now be chosen by those for whom the playground is being built – children.Ms Gordon said information and posters about the playground designs will be going out to 80 prep and pre-schools this week.
“Each design will have its own story attached and teachers will be telling the tales of each concept when they present the images to the children,” Ms Gordon said.
“The kids will then put a sticker on the one they like best.”
Council will tally the votes and the $150,000 installation will begin within a couple of months.
“We heard loud and clear from the traders that they want something for young families,” Ms Gordon said.
“This will make a more active and entertaining space, with colour and vibrancy.
“This has really been a collective effort across council, to make the CBD a place people want to come to.”Ms Gordon said the idea to get five-year-olds to vote makes the final decision “an exciting little exercise on its own”.
“Straight away, everyone will have a view,” she said.
“I think it’s just as risky leaving it up to big people.”
Mr Lantzsch’s team’s design has a big red dragon as its main feature.
“You’ve got to have something special, something unique, for a playground, because the standards have gone up,” he said.
Mr Fitzgerald’s team’s playground has a boat and house design, and includes elements that are flexible, so they can be swapped around with other playspaces in the city, to provide variety.
There are hiding holes and a lookout tower, with (artificial) grass and some shade to complement the trees now growing in the mall.
Mr Hogan’s team also came up with a dragon, as part of a flora-and-fauna themed space.
Ms Gordon said all three designs are costed and ready for implementation.
She said this first phase of the mall upgrade will be followed by other initiatives, such as introducing planter boxes and “shrubbery”.
The third initiative, providing activities such as chess and trampolines in the mall, is ongoing, with a stage soon to be installed.