Stockland has reaffirmed its standing as ‘the centre’ of the Shellharbour community, today celebrating the opening of ‘The Avenue’, a new $5 million outdoor dining area with an inclusive playground for children of all ages and abilities.
Local and State government representatives and community groups turned out to help celebrate the new destination for friends and families to meet, eat, socialise and play which has been instrumental in creating more jobs for the Illawarra region.
Stockland Regional Development Manager, Justin Travlos, said: “We are excited to officially open The Avenue today, offering the people of Shellharbour more dining options and a great outdoor space for everyone to enjoy.”
“The Avenue has actively contributed to local jobs with 40 jobs created during construction and 120 new, ongoing jobs in hospitality and retail, following its completion and official opening,” added Mr Travlos.
The Avenue, includes three exciting, new casual dining destinations: Lone Star Rib House, Thai restaurant Chong Co, and the much-loved Grill’d Healthy Burgers. The new restaurants offer customers and retailers greater opportunity for night time dining, and complement The Avenue’s current cafés and restaurants, which include The Coffee Club, Guzman and Gomez, Max Brenner, Sushi Bay, Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar and Cold Rock Ice Creamery.
Anna Watson MP, Member for Shellharbour, and Cr Marianne Saliba, Mayor of Shellharbour City, joined a tour of ‘The Avenue' to meet the new business owners and officially opened the new playground on behalf of the community.
Anna Watson MP, Member for Shellharbour, said: “I am delighted to join the Shellharbour Community and Business owners in celebrating the Opening of The Avenue. Stockland Shellharbour should be congratulated on their achievements, this is a fantastic venue for the whole region to enjoy. This new outdoor dining area will be the hub for families and shoppers to meet and children can enjoy the fantastic new playground.”
Cr Saliba, Mayor of Shellharbour City Council, said: “It is a testament to the success of this retail and social centre, in the centre of our city, that we are opening new businesses today.”
“These new hospitality businesses are now part of a growing number of attractions being offered here in Shellharbour City,” she said.
A playground party was held to celebrate the opening of the space, which was designed in collaboration with Stockland’s CARE Foundation partner, the Touched By Olivia Foundation, which specialises in the design and development of all-inclusive playgrounds for children of all abilities.
“The new playground’s innovative design allows all children to play together – and we hope this space will become a favourite destination for our customers and the community,” Mr Travlos said.
Touched by Olivia Executive Officer Bec Ho said: “With one in five Australians living with a disability, inclusive play spaces like this are so important for the children, the parents and the whole community.”
“Our playgrounds acknowledge disability by providing easy access and fun, stimulating play areas, but they are really about celebrating the ability all children, parents and grandparents share in playing and having fun. We’re hoping that if children can start on a level playing field, playgrounds like this will lead to creating a community that is more inclusive.”
The playground has an ‘under the sea’ theme and includes a number of important features to allow all children to play together, including those with physical disabilities, vision, hearing and mobility impairments, or spectrum disorders such as autism. The
playground includes a wheelchair accessible carousel, sensory and tactile play spaces for discovery and learning, and casual seating for everyone to relax and enjoy.
Earlier this month acclaimed local artists Mikey Freedom and Claire Foxton were commissioned by Stockland to curate a 20-metre wide mural on Holm Place as part of development. The artwork hopes to engage and reflect the new, confident sense of local identity that is growing in the community, by building a sense of place that is inclusive and inspires the future generation.