From left, City of Whittlesea chief executive Craig Lloyd, candidate for Yan Yean Lauren Kathage with her two children and Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell met in Laurimar last week to discuss a Labor pledge of $1.5 million to build a splash park in the area.

By Colin MacGillivray

LAURIMAR families could soon have a new communal space for outdoor recreation after Labor committed $1.5 million to build a splash park in the town if it forms government at this year’s federal election.

Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell joined City of Whittlesea chief executive Craig Lloyd and Labor candidate for the state seat of Yan Yean Lauren Kathage in Laurimar on Friday to make the announcement.

Mr Mitchell said splash parks provided outdoor recreational opportunities for families in their own neighbourhoods.

“What we’ve learned throughout the pandemic is that families want somewhere that is cheap and accessible close to home where they can go to have some wonderful time for their kids. We know splash parks do that perfectly,” he said.

“Already parents have said that it’s exciting and their kids will love it.

“This is a great project and the City of Whittlesea have been working closely with us on this for a while. It’s another example of us working together to deliver outcomes that benefit our communities.”

Mr Mitchell said he would liaise with the City of Whittlesea to determine a final location for the splash park.

Among the options are a grassy reserve east of Waterway Boulevard and Hilltop Park.

Mr Mitchell said a location near the centre of town would be ideal.

“A location close to the shops means parents can go get a coffee at the local cafes, come down on a warm day, sit here while the kids play and watch them have fun at no cost,” he said.

Mr Lloyd said council would welcome the funding if Labor was successful at the election.

“We’re very pleased with the announcement. Subject to the outcome of the election we’ll go through consultation with the local community to make sure the final site and the design is in line with what the local community needs,” he said.

“Splash parks are popping up everywhere, and every time one gets built they’re always very busy and very popular.

“It’s far more convenient to have a splash park rather than a swimming pool, and you can combine it with a playground so it still gets use in the winter months.

“This area has a lot of young families with children, so spaces like this are always in demand.”

Ms Kathage said her two young children were excited about the potential of playing at a new splash park.

“There’s nothing the kids like more than to go to splash parks,” she said.

“We need one in this area because there isn’t one for quite a distance. It draws people to the area.

“We’ve gone to birthday parties and picnics at splash parks. It’s more than just equipment, it’s a place for the community to come together and enjoy living in this beautiful area.”