Nedlands: new Jo Wheatley All Abilities Play Space a state-of-the-art park on a massive scale

Vern Wheatley, Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins and Jo Wheatley cutting the ribbon to the Jo Wheatley Play Space.
Vern Wheatley, Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins and Jo Wheatley cutting the ribbon to the Jo Wheatley Play Space.

NEDLANDS has a new state-of-the-art play space for people of all ages and abilities to explore.

The Jo Wheatley All Abilities Play Space officially launched today at Beaton Park alongside the river.

Seven years in the making, it is the first of its kind on this scale in WA, covering 10,000sq m with wheelchair access throughout the playground, a sensory walkway, flying fox, active climbing, decks and a slide, active swinging, picnic areas, community garden, water play areas and more.

Jo and Vern Wheatley were major sponsors of the facility, motivated by the many hours Vern spent as a child on the Nedlands foreshore.

The pair are longstanding Rotarians, with the all abilities play space initiated by Rotary seven years ago.

“It’s wonderful to see it open, to go from conception of sitting down and saying ‘we could do this’,” Mrs Wheatley said.

“It’s for children and it’s for everyone.”

Mr Wheatley said the pair planned to bring their grandchildren to the park, along with their great-grandaughter.

“I’m absolutely looking forward to it,” he said.

Rotary Chair Angus Buchanan said the project was something the community should be very proud of.

“A few weeks ago, I was clearing notes from my iPad; on August 13, 2011, was ‘a playground for all people’,” he said.

“We had no idea what we were taking on.”

Along with the Wheatleys and Rotary Clubs of Nedlands, Subiaco and West Perth, the play space came to life through the City of Nedlands, Inclusion WA, COLAB, Wood & Grieve Engineers, Lotterywest and the Department of Communities.

Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins said parents and grandparents will be able to enjoy the equipment along with their children.

“Research shows that play is important for people of all ages, not just children, and helps to build physical, psychological and social health,” he said.

There will be a family fun day at the Jo Wheatley All Abilities Play Space in November.

Work is continuing on phase two of the project.

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