Pirate Park, the community’s say
The story of the project
We just want our ship back, using the old plans as a starting point, addressing any concerns and allowing the community to have their say and input into plans to make the ship better. We are raising our hands for help.
That included a little pirate ship on top of a hill. Now at this time, it was only one child in tow, and he loved it. The slide was crazy, the location made no sense, but the smell of the air, the sights at the top, and the BBQ at the bottom, made for a relaxed and welcoming experience. After the craziness of visiting houses galore, that welcoming experience was heaven.
It also one of the reasons that cemented our desire to become a part of Point Cook.
I recall the numbers that went there, and I am sure I am not alone. In fact, given the food vans, the visitors, and general buzz, that out of the place park was known Melbourne over. It was an icon. Not just the ship, but the experience of getting on board and looking out to sea.
That little ship on the hill did attract trouble. At night we would hear stories of teens being teens, of idiots doing dodgy crap, and of other stories that won’t be repeated here. But those events I have heard in other locales as well. Its frequency at the ship was higher, but today I am sure it has been displaced, not diminished. Which brings us to the now.
About a year ago a fire destroyed that little ship, set alight by a teenager. It had to be demolished as it was ruined. And the boy that came with us on those journeys throughout Point Cooks many displays had his heart broken. We prepped him for what had happened to that icon. Or so we thought. Sure he hadn’t played on it for years, but seeing that sight, tears welled up. A piece of innocence chipped away.
I’ll also confess I almost joined him. Because that icon, a little ship on a hill, that helped to shape our initial love of this place was gone. I do not think I am alone in any of this thinking, or the belief that the icon, the experience needs to be returned. Sure take care of safety concerns, but clearly the icon is paramount. And its return needs to be something the community can feel ownership of, as it was much more than just a ship on a hill, it was a boat that lead a lot of us to home.
This is why it is so important to get right. It was never just a park. It was and is OUR history.
And this is what Wyndham City Council Proposes: www.wyndham.vic.gov.au/residents/community/…
An Art Installation
As you can guess, the design itself misses the mark. A skeletal frame more in line with an art piece (a good art piece by the way) than something kids will have fun on, is not acceptable. Sure the design can have play elements added to it, and kids will play with anything, but the design proposed just compromises so much. A kid’s imagination could fill in the blanks however they should not have too. The ship was there, it was insured, and it was the memory of the ship of old that has so many people worried about what is in store for the site now.
We have had Wyndham City Council’s reasons for building a shadow of what was there. To be fair these reasons most certainly need attention, from a community wide perspective. The design council has proposed however, has not just come up short; it has been comprehensively rejected by the community.
And sadly, we know from the minutes of the meeting of the steering committee, that Wyndham City Coucil never intended to rebuild the ship. This is despite the community’s request to do so.
From their own minutes (December 2014):
o Return the park to a local park scale , rather than the destination park
o The “art piece/ visual element” should have form and structure, but maintain passive surveillance.
o The top of the mound should be a non-purpose play area and any formal structure should be minimal…
o The public art committee could be involved and should reference to what was previously there
Its time to let them know, this is not on.
How the funds will be used
And we are asking you to help us.
At a starting point, we would like to see a pirate ship, built using the designs of the old one. (Again addressing any concerns & allowing the community to have their say and input into plans to make the ship better).
The community will be involved in this effort. And will all get to help what we do.
All funds to provide a fighting fund for the park. In the event this is not needed, will be then used to build playground equipment.
If we get enough investment from the community, we will also stretch out these funds and use them to make playground equipment in the park itself.
To get involved, join us on facebook here: www.facebook.com/groups/667818253364920/
If you haven’t done so yet, we ask you sign the petition too – The Petition
It will be an ambitious, taking on, quite frankly a hostile council.
As an example, we have the outgoing CEO of the council stating “Despite the release of the final design, Wyndham chief executive Kerry Thompson said the council was still exploring design options with the steering committee.” www.starweekly.com.au/news/new-playground-not-ship…
Yet its been clear for a very long time that residents just want the ship back. As quotes from here show – www.bayfm.com.au/news/local-news/55267-anger-as-co…
“Carole said her children loved the pirate ship. “We travel(ed) 30 minutes from home to come to this awesome park.” And Ian said the proposed new design would attract undesirables to the area. “
“Why replace a park that kids loved with a facility that will encourage anti-social behaviour? Really doesn’t make sense!” he wrote.
“Wyndham council says it consulted with the community before releasing the plans, but many people say they were never informed.”