Echuca West residents are the big winners in our Murray River towns this week following the completion of Echuca Moama’s newest community asset.
Land developers of the Echuca West Park View housing estate have unveiled a two-hectare public parkland facility as part of its stage three land release.
Campaspe Shire CEO, Jason Russell said this was an amazing and welcomed contribution to our town.
"The role of community green space planners, and managers of our local parks and gardens is more critical now than ever before," Mr Russell said.
"The fast paced pressures of our modern world are seeing bigger houses being constructed, leaving smaller yards for children to grow and play in – so in some respects the local park is in fact replacing the great "Aussie’ backyard," he said.
"So the pressure is on us all to get it right".
Mr Russell said the federal government had recently boosted the profile and importance of public parks and gardens with its commitment to establishing a "Living Cities Taskforce" to tackle the challenge of making our cities and regional CBD hubs more appealing and more liveable for residents.
"There is nothing more important than attractive green spaces to promote healthy outdoor living", he said.
"Public open space is now a national priority. And on a local level, we reiterate those same goals and guidelines to foster civic pride and to ensure our residents and visitors to town can value and appreciate all that we have to offer".
Land developer, Simon Eishold said he was committed to honouring his investor group’s "Park View" marketing promise and the associated lifestyle benefits that come with choosing where to reside.
"Choosing a preferred location for where we want to permanently live is one of the biggest decisions anyone will make in their life," he said.
"Our desire to construct a natural parkland to enhance the lifestyle benefits of surrounding residents allowed us to make good use of what might otherwise have been unproductive land, and to enable us to leave a lasting legacy in our community as part of our commitment to this project and our town," he said.
Mr Eishold said the park served a number of purposes.
"It not only accommodates localised drainage issues, but also provides a passive recreational space in one of the fastest growing residential areas in our town," he said.
The west neighbourhood previously existed almost as a satellite town isolated by the Northern Highway, but with infrastructure now in place at Park View, families have easy walking or biking access to the St Mary’s school, the soon to be built West/South and special school and the Echuca Secondary College, he said.
"Parkview is the lynch pin connecting Echuca West residents with our main town’s CBD hub. It is a safe commute route option for residents to navigate their way to town via the traffic lights at Butcher St straight onto the Campaspe walking track. We want to promote healthy lifestyles and ultimately a healthier community by seeing less people using cars and more people walking and riding to their place of work for the day," he said.
Local advocate of green space and owner of Echuca based turf supply company Coolabah Turf, Suzie Shearer this week said it was a privilege to see a community project of this calibre finally come to fruition.
"The transformation of this previously unsightly dust bowl is an amazing coup for our town," she said.
"This project has now set the benchmark for what all future pockets of green space in our community need to equal", she said.
"This story is one of perseverance and commitment. The project developers need to be commended on their vision and passion for seeing this through".
"The water harvesting methods and drainage infrastructure the Park View developers were forced to adopt could have been a major barrier preventing the project from happening at all. There are rain water tanks used to capture all storm water and run off hidden out of sight beneath the parkland to enable greater usability of the space. This innovation and investment is testament to the group’s commitment to community.," Mrs Shearer said.
Mrs Shearer, who is also a founding member of Lawn Solutions Australia and founder of the Northern Victoria and Southern NSW Regional Council Discussion Group said public parks and gardens were the sacred heart of our community.
"A luscious lawn is such a simple pleasure in what is fast becoming a complicated world," she said.
Our Echuca Moama community is experiencing first hand a severe ice epidemic, high levels of domestic violence, increased crime rates, mental illness and even to the extreme, two suicides in the same week last month.
"We need to get back to basics and simplify the things in our lives".
"There is nothing more soothing for the soul than a walk in the park, or a kick of the footy in the park or throwing a Frisbee in the park with your kids or dogs, or rolling around and lounging on a natural turf surface. A brief moment or frolic at the local park is a momentary escape from some of these fast paced pressures of the modern world we are all so caught up in," she said.
Park land does not only provide mental and physical health benefits for our residents, but it will ensure healthy communities into the future from an environmental stand point.
"The science behind green space suggests greener cities make people happier and healthier," she said.
The local park is also a sacred space to enhance social connectedness and help reduce crime by providing a non-threatening, level playing field to unite residents as a meeting place.
"The irony of the current NBN roll out locally to improve and speed up our abilities to communicate and connect with our families, friends and peers is actually quite disturbing. While in theory we want this level of technology to increase our capacity to connect via social media platforms, it is actually in many ways fragmenting, or polarising members of our society. While we are watching screens sitting on trains/planes or a café, we are actually ignoring the real people within the immediate vicinity of our first person world.
Our national industry groups and the Australian government at every level are working closely to eradicate this very real fear through the emphasise we are collectively placing on sustainable landscape solutions and the importance of making public green space more affordable and more accessible for all levels of our society.