Brimbank, Australia

Photo by Emma Cross

Innovative and Collaborative Solution

How does the initiative show evidence of feasibility, including on-going financial and logistical support?

Sunvale Community Park is classified as a Flagship Park in Council’s Creating Better Parks Policy and Plan and therefore receives the highest levels of maintenance. Operational staff from Parks Services and Building Maintenance attend the site weekly to ensure that it is clean, safe and well maintained.

In what ways is the initiative innovative?

Council’s Creating Better Parks Policy and Plan recommended that the disused school be purchased for open space. When the State government announced, they were going to sell the vacant land, Council and the community advocated together with Council succeeded in buying two thirds of the disused site.

From this Council created a visionary master plan that incorporated all community ideas and were able to use this masterplan to advocate for funding from the State government. This was successful and resulted in around $3.6M funding from the State to implement the whole masterplan.

The design of Sunvale sought to ensure that the park caters for multiple and diverse users and the expected increase in housing density for the Sunshine Priority Precinct. As a Flagship Park and Oasis Park, Sunvale has functions that cater for:

  • Heatwave mitigation
  • Sustainable water supply
  • Biodiverse urban forest supporting people, flora and fauna
  • First Nation People art
  • Walking and cycling
  • Skating
  • Formal and natural play
  • Day and night time events
  • Picnics and BBQ
  • Outdoor gym
  • Basketball
  • Cricket, AFL and soccer
  • Toilets
  • Community orchard and herb garden

Sunvale has been restructured to ensure that the connection to the local community that started with the primary school now continues as a key public realm destination for the local community to meet, be active and to assist in the liveability of Sunshine.

How is the initiative supported by collaborative working across disciplines and sectors?          

Brimbank City Councils Urban Design Department lead the development of the masterplan (co-funded by the State of Victoria), design and construction for this park. This project required the involvement of many other professionals to ensure quality outcomes were achieved. Within Council the following professionals were involved:

  • Civil and Traffic Engineers assisted in pavement and traffic issues
  • Arts & Culture Coordinator assisted in the delivery of Five Elements sculptors by local First Nation People
  • Parks Services staff were engaged around plant selection and assessment of existing trees
  • Playground and Street Furniture Coordinator for feedback of proposed play facilities, shelters and toilets
  • Media and Communications Coordinator to support community engagement and social media messaging

The following external professionals were engaged:

  • E2Design were engaged to design the stormwater harvesting system
  • An architect was engaged to assist in sketch design of the central shelter
  • CONVIC were engaged to design the skate facility and to engage with local youth/skaters in designing the skate space
  • Mandi Barton and Lee-Anne Clarke (local First Nation People artists) developed the concept for The Five Elements and partnered with Djprojects to construct and install the five pieces
  • Make It Wet were engaged to prepared irrigation plans
  • Play DMC were engaged to conduct a safety audit of all play equipment
How does the initiative demonstrate evidence of community support?          

Sunvale Community Park has been recognised as a great exemplar of a contemporary park winning two state and one national industry awards for Park of The Year in 2020 from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects and from Parks and Leisure Australia.

Sunvale Community Park was chosen as a site to conduct an interview with Adrian Gray, Chair of Greening The West and Manager of Urban Design at Brimbank City Council to discuss the role that nature play has for children. Sunvale has natural play elements that include plants, logs, water, rocks, sand and musical objects.

The Sunshine Library conducts reading events in the park with the local community and during National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week, events and discussions have taken place at Sunvale linked to the indigenous sculptural pieces designed by local First Nations People title, The Five Elements.