Learn to Ride space for Railway Lands

LEARN TO RIDE: The concept plan for the new development. Pictures: SUPPLIED.

Melanie Riley

A LEARN to ride space is set to be developed at the Railway Lands, following the City of Mount Gambier endorsement of the final concept plan at the June council meeting.

The learn to ride space is one of three play spaces planned for the Mount Gambier Railway Lands and will include elements typical of suburban, city and freeway settings, providing riders with realistic scenarios to learn from.

Features such as roundabouts, speed bumps, crossings and parking areas will be designed to help children navigate these environments safely.

Mount Gambier Out of School Hours Care have contributed $150,000 to the learn to ride project and the design of the youth and nature play spaces – the next two play spaces planned for the area.

General manager city infrastructure Barbara Cernovskis said the design of the space will help boost cycling safety and confidence, providing a fun learning experience for children of all ages and teaching riders to navigate the road network confidently.

“Council’s Sport, Recreation and Open Space Strategy (SROSS) recommends a collaborative development approach for Railway Lands site, ensuring it is fit for purpose and meets the needs of the community,” she said.

“Following consultation with the community to understand the vision for the Railway Lands, council engaged JPE Design Studio to develop a plan that aims to deliver safe, accessible and inclusive play environments for the community plan with the provision of a youth space, nature play and a learn to ride on the railway platform.”

Councillor Josh Lynagh was one of the councillors in support of all three plans and spoke positively of the learn to ride space.

“This is one of the more exciting things to come across council in awhile,” he said.

“The Railway Lands was very exciting when it opened up and this is a great way to build on that.

“The learn to ride space has a lot of parents excited, with a lot of them comparing to Millicent and the facilities they have got there.”

In relation to the Nature Play and Youth Space, he said the plans looked “incredible” and was particularly excited for the youth space.

“It’s filling a gap as far as what we provide – there has always been a call out for things to do for youth,” he said.

“This incorporates a lot of things that a lot of people have been calling out for and it’s in the centre of town, so I’m excited for it.”

Councillor Mark Lovett opposed the motion to endorse the plan, and requested further thought and consultation be put into the plan.

“There is a lot going on central in the CBD – the Railway Lands is a sensational space,” he said.

“However, in the marginal areas of Mount Gambier, there are plenty of reserves and parks that are very bland because there is not much there – if anything at all.

“For our community to get out and about, it shouldn’t just be a one stop shop.”

He said he believed more consideration in other areas such as Don McDonnell Reserve was needed to ensure all of the local community could have access to such facilities.

Cnr Lynagh acknowledged Cnr Lovett’s concerns and said spaces like Dimjalla Skatepark and Melaleuca Reserve fill a gap in their respective areas of town, but work could be done.

“I think that’s on a separate topic, these are the things we need to look at upgrading and filling in some of those gaps there as well,” he said.

Work on the learn to ride space will begin in the first quarter of the 2024/2025 financial year.

Community consultation on the draft concept plans the next stages of development – the Nature Play and Youth Space – are set to begin in July.

The feedback will then be presented to council in a future meeting for final endorsement.