STOCKLAND CAIRNS TO CONSTRUCT NEW INCLUSIVE PLAYGROUND AND QUIET ROOM AT THE CENTRE
Stockland Cairns reaffirms its standing as a centre designed for the community, as it starts construction on its new inclusive playground and Quiet Room, both set to open before Christmas.*
Built in collaboration with Urban Play and Variety – the Children’s Charity, the playground’s innovative design allows children of all abilities to play together, including those with physical disabilities, vision, hearing and mobility impairments, or spectrum disorders such as autism.
Malcolm Miller, Centre Manager at Stockland Cairns, said that it was critical to remove the barriers experienced by Australians living with disabilities, so they can have the same access and opportunities that others enjoy. “We hope this new playground will become a favourite destination for our littlest customers and the community more widely, where all children feel comfortable letting their imaginations run wild and just enjoy playing.
“We see ourselves as a town centre designed for the community, and will continue to evaluate ways in which we can create more curated experiences and add value and convenience to customers’ visits.”
Ben Urban, Director at Urban Play, said: “The playground was inspired by the tropical rainforests, meandering rivers and coastal reefs that encircle Cairns. The hand-carved play sculptures are comprised of responsibly sourced wood, bringing the rainforest inside and giving visual and tactile authenticity to the playspace.
“This is a world-first project, it pioneers inclusive playground design on a global scale.
“I was raised in Cairns and I am absolutely stoked to deliver a playground of this caliber for my home town. This playground will become etched in childhood memories and truly captures where the rainforest meets the reef.”
The playground design features reefs, rocks and rainforests – as well as a big dugong and stingray – to encourage children to interact, role play and play. Kim Becherand, Inclusive Play Manager at Variety – the Children’s Charity, said that at Variety they believe that all kids deserve the opportunity to experience the joy and benefits of playing together.
“Working with the project team we have created a bespoke truly inclusive playspace that will engage all children and their families and carers in play.
“This new playspace pushes the boundaries of what an inclusive playspace in a shopping centre can be. A space where difference doesn’t matter and everyone is included, valued and feels they belong.
“The Stockland Cairns playspace continues Variety’s ongoing partnership with Stockland. We love working together and striving for excellence in design as we create inclusive playspaces for Stockland communities throughout Australia.”
Sarah Neilsen, General Manager of Placemaking at Stockland, said that the approach with the playground was to help facilitate community platforms where locals could meet up and engage with one another.
“We always imagined this space being more than simply an area for children to run around and play. We see it as a space that local playgroups may be interested in hiring for a weekly meet up, for educational providers to run workshops at, or even a fun location for library staff to hold Storytime sessions. The opportunities to connect and engage the community are endless.”
Stockland Cairns will further its commitment to creating inclusive places for the community, with its new Quiet Room also anticipated to open before the end of 2020.
Mr Miller continued: “The Quiet Room is designed to offer a safe place for parents, carers and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, providing a calm, low sensory environment which can be used as a retreat away from a busy shopping centre.
“We’re pleased to be able to open this new Quiet Room in time for the busy Christmas period. It’s one small but significant way in making our shopping centre more inclusive for all customers to enjoy.”
The new playground will be located at Centre Court, and the Quiet Room will be adjacent to the playground.
*Dates are subject to change. All illustrations are an artist's impression and are for indicative purposes only.