Why is Buttenshaw Park a District Park?

    • Buttenshaw Park is one of four district parks in the Blue Mountains. Glenbrook Park, Wentworth Falls Lake Park, and Blackheath Soldiers Memorial Park are also district parks. District parks are large and high quality parks that cater to the needs of the broader Blue Mountains community. They offer a wider variety of activities and settings and are often the most popular parks and play spaces. Buttenshaw Park was selected due to its location, its size and the underutilised areas suitable for development.
    • The Open Space and Recreation Strategic Plan, endorsed by the Council and community in 2018, sanctioned Buttenshaw Park as a District Park. It also included an action to “upgrade the park focusing on the needs of older children and teenagers in the area”. Council then secured funding through the Western Parkland City Liveability Program to build a $1.5 million youth place space at this location.
    • Council manages 105 parks and 56 formal play spaces across the Blue Mountains. Not every park and play space is the same. We have different kinds of parks and play spaces, which people use differently, and need different equipment and management.
    • Local parks are the next tier of park. Smaller than district parks, but still servicing a larger part of the community, Council manages 13 local parks throughout the City.  Most are set in a recreational ‘activity hub’ along with other facilities like sports ovals, sports courts, skate parks, dog-off leash spaces and toilets. Get more information on local parks
    • It is not possible for Council to provide large play spaces, like the one planned for Buttenshaw Park, or those already built at Glenbrook Park or Wentworth Falls Lake Park, at every formal play space in the City. Get more information at: https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/recreation/playgrounds.

    How was the location of the youth space at Buttenshaw Park chosen?

    Three possible zones within Buttenshaw Park were considered for the adventure youth space:

    • Near the highway in the horticultural zone – but this location is close to the highway and would have had an impact on the Sanda Japanese Friendship Gardens.
    • On the Central Lawn – but there was a risk of disturbance to bushland and we would have been unable to achieve an accessible play space for all abilities.
    • Near the Springwood Aquatic and Fitness Centre.  This was deemed the most suitable location at the park, because of the increased connectivity between the park and the aquatic centre, its distance from the highway, and the appeal of keeping the central lawn undeveloped to retain the character of the park. It also allows for good passive surveillance (enabling natural observation to increase safety and enhance crime prevention).   

    The draft Masterplan for Buttenshaw Park – that needs to be adopted before the youth space can be built in 2022 – has the youth space located near the Springwood Aquatic and Fitness Centre. 

    Why build an inclusive youth space?

    • Buttenshaw Park has a sport and activity theme for youth because of its larger size and location and because it’s near the Springwood Aquatic and Fitness Centre and sports courts.
    • The planned adventure youth space, to be constructed in 2022 (if the draft Plan of Management and Masterplan for Buttenshaw Park is approved by the Council at the October 2021 Council Meeting), will create an inclusive youth play space with adventure activities for teenagers. 
    • Providing spaces for young people to feel welcome and engaged in our community is important. It has been identified as a significant shortfall in the recreation facilities currently provided.
    • Extensive community consultation conducted in 2020, including a fun interactive online tool and youth workshop sessions, helped shape the designs for the new youth space.
    • The design looks to maximise the challenging sloping topography of the park to deliver an exciting, high energy space with adventure equipment like a double flying fox and group swing. Other key features include a unique, customised youth focused climbing and hang out structure as well as a climbing/bouldering wall and a multifunctional asphalt pump track that caters for bikes and scooters. 
    • The main park path connection will also be realigned to provide an accessible path through the park to the Aquatic Centre
    • The design respects the key community values for the park and respects the ecological value of Birdwood Gully, the retention of wide open lawns for passive recreation activities and offers facilities for all park users including seating, shelters and water bubblers.
    • The size and design of the youth space is appropriate for a District Park that has been designed for the whole Blue Mountains’ community to enjoy.  Scaling back the play space significantly would result in it failing to meet the broad community’s current expectations for facilities at District Parks.
    • Council must build the youth space by the end of 2022 to meet the requirements of the Western Parkland City Liveability Program grant.

    Tell me about the Draft Plan of Management and Masterplan

    A draft Plan of Management and Masterplan for the park was created, after extensively consulting with the community in 2020 and then publicly exhibiting the documents in early 2021. 

    • The draft Plan of Management and Masterplan went to the June 2021 Council meeting for adoption, but the elected Councillors asked that further community consultation be conducted prior to these returning to the Council to be adopted. 
    • The draft Plan of Management and Masterplan for Buttenshaw Park include the planned adventure youth space (that is already funded), as well as a broader plan for the park. 
    • The Masterplan will guide future design to improve function and access at the park, facilitate social activity and amenity for residents and visitors while recognising, respecting and enhancing the existing character. It must be endorsed by the Council before any upgrades occur at the park.
    • Developments proposed in the draft Masterplan for Buttenshaw Park (other than the funded youth space) include the following that are not yet funded:
      • an upgrade or replacement of toilet facilities near the youth space
      • relocation of the junior play space away from the highway
      • improvements to the carpark alongside the highway and its expansion when the junior play space is removed
      • better pedestrian lighting and vehicular incursion barriers. 
    • The Plan of Management (POM) is a legal document to guide how the park will be managed. The POM divides the park into high level management zones (categories) reflecting their current use. Each zone will be managed for a different purpose; bushland, picnic areas or waterways. It establishes permissible uses, developments and the level of maintenance of the land. This plan must be endorsed by NSW Crown Lands and the Council.
    • The draft Plan of Management and Masterplan cover the following areas:
    1. The Springwood Aquatic Centre and Fitness Centre
    2. The parkland area of Buttenshaw Park with the Blue Mountains Sanda Japan Friendship Gardens
    3. The junior play area and parking area of the Great Western Highway
    4. Bushland along the eastern edge connected with Birdwood Gully.
    • It does not include the Churchill Place Courts, at Springwood.
    • Additional funding would need to be secured for any future upgrades of the park, in line with the draft Plan of Management and Masterplan.

    What previous community consultation has been done for the planned youth space?

    Four rounds of community consultation have been implemented on proposed current upgrades, using multiple channels, since April 2020:

    • Letterbox drops to nearby residents (60 households) x 4
    • Signage on site x 4
    • Display advertising in the Blue Mountains Gazette x 4
    • Have Your Say web portal with updates to those who are following the project.
    • Online resource allocator (Funbobulator) – which received nearly 500 responses. Consistent feedback has been incorporated into the final.
    • Community Newsletter x 3 (sent to all households in the Blue Mountains)
    • Social media promotion
    • Stakeholder community forum (April 2020)
    • Youth workshops
    • Special needs survey
    • Community drop in session (May 2021).

    Will the existing junior play space be moved or replaced?

    Not yet. The junior play space is in good condition and the current City Deal grant funding is only for the creation of an inclusive youth play space. See the draft Masterplan for a proposed new location for a future junior play space that would still need to be funded.

    Will there be more noise from more people coming to the park?

    Please talk to us about your concerns and how you would like to see the park being used so together we can find solutions that will benefit both users, throughout the Blue Mountains community, and residents.

    Will the proposals increase traffic and parking?

    In preparing the draft Plan of Management and Masterplan, a traffic study was undertaken that looks at the flow of vehicles in and around Buttenshaw Park. Some increase in traffic is predicted but not proportionally a high increase. 

    The draft Masterplan allows for the junior play space to be moved in the future and the existing highway carpark to be expanded. It also allows for improved pedestrian access from Springwood town centre. Neither of these upgrades are funded in the short term, but they are part of the vision for the space that will help address parking.

    The exhibition phase, and this new round of consultation, provides you with the opportunity to provide any ideas and suggestions for how parking and traffic can best be managed.  This will become part of Council’s future planning.

    Has lighting and security been considered for the new play space location?

    The draft Masterplan outlines considerations for lighting and security and a police review of proposed play space area was conducted. Proposed strategies include:

    • A safe level of light is to be provided along the main accessible pathways, ramps, and entrances for pedestrian traffic.   It is not proposed for the play area.  This additional lighting will be designed to have minimal impact on neighbouring properties.
    • The facilities are designed to discourage night time use.  For example, the park has been designated as an alcohol free zone after 9pm, a mechanism to lock the flying fox at night is under investigation, and there will be no direct lighting of the play space. 
    • The facilities are designed to facilitate police surveillance. For example, nearby seating and picnic tables will encourage use by broader community, and trees and shrubs will be managed to increase visibility of the area including opening views from the wisteria pergolas. 

    Features including lighting, picnic tables and seating and tree and shrub management are currently unfunded. 

    Will there be a new toilet?

    A toilet is planned for but it is not yet funded. 

    Will there be a dog off-leash area?

    No, but dogs on lead will continue to be permitted except within 10 metres of play equipment.

    Will there be changes to the Aquatic Centre?

    While currently unfunded, the draft Plan of Management and Masterplan allow for a new entrance to the Aquatic Centre on the park side. A café based within the centre could then service the park, and fitness activities could extend outdoors.

    Will there be any clearing of bushland?

    No, not as part of the play space development.  The draft Plan of Management allows for some vegetation management where absolutely necessary, for example, to better manage the stormwater with water sensitive design features, or to facilitate improvements to the existing walking track in Birdwood Gully. These will be managed sensitively by Council’s environment team.

    What happens with my comments?

    All comments are read and considered. Council staff will balance the input against legal and strategic directions, and against practical and design considerations. The draft Plan of Management and Masterplan may be amended as a result. The youth space design could only be amended significantly, if further funding was made available.

    The draft Plan of Management and Masterplan must be endorsed by the Council before the play space can be built. Council must build the youth space by the end of 2022 to meet the requirements of the Western Parkland City Liveability Program grant.

    What’s involved in the City Deal upgrade?

    The upgrade will create an inclusive youth play space with adventure activities for older kids. The Masterplan and Plan of Management are not part of the City Deal Funding.

    What is a Plan of Management?

    A Plan of Management is a legal document developed to guide how a park or reserve will be managed. It establishes directions for planning, permissible uses management and maintenance of the land.

    The Local Government Act 1993 requires Council to have a Plan of Management in place for all public land that is classified ‘community land’, and these plans must be endorsed by.

    What is a Masterplan?

    The Masterplan is a more detailed plan that guides future design and development for public spaces. It outlines developments which improve function and access; recognise, respect and enhance the existing character; and facilitate social activity and amenity for both residents and visitors. Masterplans must be endorsed by Council.