MANY HANDS: Ballina MP Tamara Smith, Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin and Byron Shire councillor Allan Hunter among the kids celebrating Waterlily Park at Ocean Shores.
MANY HANDS: Ballina MP Tamara Smith, Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin and Byron Shire councillor Allan Hunter among the kids celebrating Waterlily Park at Ocean Shores. LYN MCCARTHY

Community win: $400k for park makeover

POLITICS was momentarily put to one side when the Ocean Shores community gathered at Waterlily Park at the weekend to celebrate progress and rejoice at news of a $418,608 grant to Byron Shire Council for ongoing work at the park.

The grant, from the NSW Government's $200million Stronger Country Communities Fund, will go towards construction of shared cycling and walking pathways, formalisation of the carpark, shade sails for the playground and construction of new children's play equipment.

Waterlily Park Community Playscape Committee chair Orit Ben-Harush said they were absolutely thrilled to receive the funding.

In announcing the funding win, Nationals parliamentary secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin said "I want to pay tribute to Orit Ben-Harush and the whole Waterlily Playscape Committee for all their work in bringing this project to life”.

"I am thrilled we are able to support this wonderful playground, which is such an important part of this community.

"Ocean Shores is home to many young families and this project will deliver more facilities to these families.”

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said it was a truly incredible win for the Ocean Shores community.

"The residents of Ocean Shores who steered the playscape project should be immensely proud,” Cr Richardson said.

"They worked with council to win a grant over $400,000 and this is a testament to what positive- thinking, community- minded locals can do

"A lot of people don't realise that at the time Ocean Shores was developed, the area was promoted as somewhere to retire and therefore the infrastructure was built to suit the needs of older people.

"Times have changed and Ocean Shores is full of young, working families and people of all ages who will benefit from having a revitalised open space for walking, cycling, socialising, playing and relaxing.”

Ballina MP Tamara Smith said Waterlily Park had come a long way since 2014, "when it was sorely in need of love”.

"I pledged then to deliver a transformation of the park and got the ball rolling with a $50,000 grant from the Community Building Partnership scheme,” she said.

"Since then, incredible work by the playscape volunteers, support from Byron Mayor Simon Richardson and the involvement of local schools and residents has brought about a vibrant, people- driven project that realises the full community vision.”

Community consultation will be undertaken on the design and location of new playground equipment.

More information at www.waterlilyplayscape.org or www.facebook.com/ waterlilyplayscape.

Round two of the Country Community Fund is open until May 4 at www.nsw. gov.au/strongercountry communities.


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