Project update

The City of Parramatta is continuing its upgrade of Thomas Wemyss Park, Ermington with support from the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program. As a successful recipient of grant funding under Phase 2 of the LRCI, Council is able to deliver additional upgrades aligned with the feedback received from the community in Phase Two Community Consultation for the Bartlett Street Shops & Thomas Wemyss Park BNP Project.

As part of this community infrastructure project, the following items will be delivered:

  • Resurfacing of the existing basketball court and provision of new multi-purpose sports equipment (including new basketball backboards, rings and net and netball ring)
  • Installation of two new picnic shelters; adjacent to the recently completed playground, and next to the basketball court
  • Installation of new street furniture within the park, including picnic tables and benches
  • Installation of a solar-powered pedestrian lighting network from Bartlett Street to Vignes Street to improve accessibility and enhance the safe passage of users through the park at dawn and dusk
  • Provision of a drinking fountain at one of the entry points to the park.

The above works are being completed in addition to the recently finished Better Neighbourhood Program (BNP) project at this site, which saw Council deliver:

  • A new local playground at Thomas Wemyss Park with a variety of play elements to engage children across a number of age groups and abilities and the replacement of the existing artificial turf and soft-fall with new rubber softfall
  • Reconditioning of the playground retaining wall and landscaping to the surrounding garden beds
  • An entry footpath to the sports court and park to enhance accessibility and pedestrian movement
  • An extensive public domain upgrade at Bartlett Street Shops with new pavement treatment, shade tree planting, upgraded garden beds and seating for enhance walkability and identity of streetscape.
Collage of images from Bartlett Street Shops and Thomas Wemyss Park

Consultation

Thank you to everyone that provided feedback during the initial community engagement period run throughout August and September 2020. We had strong community participation, with 279 contributions and 1774 page views. Of the 279 contributions, 207 were survey responses and 72 were provided via the quick poll tool. This feedback helped inform funding prioritisation and determine which inclusions were seen to be most desirable as part of the delivery of this project.

Council has worked hard to take community feedback and preferences into consideration in the draft concept plans prepared for the Bartlett Street Centre, the open space at Thomas Wemyss Park and the playground at Thomas Wemyss Park.

View more detail on each draft concept plan via the resources section.

Phase two community engagement - What did we hear?

Feedback on the draft concept plans for the Bartlett Street Centre, the open space at Thomas Wemyss Park and the playground at Thomas Wemyss Park closed at 9am on Friday 26 February 2021.

Council has now completed a review of all submissions provided as part of Phase Two Community Engagement. From the 75 online responses received throughout the consultation period, there was a general level of support for each of the draft concept plans that Council had prepared. To check out more of what we heard, please click on the image below!


Frequently asked questions

Thomas Wemyss Park

Council is looking to upgrade the pocket park playground at Thomas Wemyss Park with new equipment that provides better function and play value. The upgraded playground will remain in the same location as existing.

The proposed upgrade will also include:

  • Other improvements such as reconditioning of the playground retaining wall and inclusion of a park shelter and picnic table setting next to the space.
  • Replacement of the existing artificial turf and softfall with new rubber softfall.

There is a medium level of shade offered by surrounding mature trees. Shade sails will be considered as part of a future stage to the playground upgrade and as part of another grant fund.

No fence will be provided as the existing retaining wall between the playground and Bartlett Street creates an effective barrier. Any money spent on fencing would be subtracted from the overall budget which would mean less money for playground equipment. Fences are therefore only included in local playgrounds when necessary.

No trees are proposed for removal.

No water play is planned for this playground as it is only to be installed in specially considered locations and is too expensive to install and maintain under a Pocket Playground budget.

No flying foxes or trampolines are planned for this playground due to space and budget limitations.

Outdoor exercise equipment is not designed for children and cannot be included in playgrounds. The budget has been specifically allocated to upgrade the playground and does not allow for additional items in the park. The sports court, pathways and open space within the park provide opportunities for passive and active recreation.

Yes, the playground will include two new seats.

Yes, the existing bin will be upgraded, and a bubbler will be installed.

The play surface around the play equipment will be made from a coloured porous rubber.


General

Phase one community engagement on Bartlett Street Shops and Thomas Wemyss Park took place throughout August and September 2020. A number of opportunities were provided for stakeholders and community members to provide their feedback, including conversations with each of the retailers and property owners, as well as an online survey. The opportunity to participate was promoted on Council’s website, via social media, as well as posters on site. There was a strong response to the engagement opportunity as summarised in the graphic below.

Respondents demonstrated a desire to retain the convenient nature of Bartlett Street Shops and see it modernised to become more welcoming and inviting for customers, especially those with families. Safety, cleanliness and increased activity also came through as important issues.

At Thomas Wemyss Park, respondents indicated that they enjoy the green and open space, however there is a concern that the park is unsafe with ageing facilities, in particular, the playground (which is currently closed). Community members expressed a desire for improved cleanliness, as well as more modern facilities which are welcoming, inclusive and accessible for users of all ages and abilities.

Respondents were also asked to select their three most desired inclusions for the upgrade from a list of options. The most popular options chosen were, ‘new play equipment’ (54%), ‘lighting’ (43%) and ‘shade structure’ (29%) with the least favoured choices being ‘new waste disposal bins’ (7%), ‘street furniture’ (7%) and ‘traffic and/or speed reduction features’ (4.35%).

To discover more about what we heard, please read the Bartlett Street Shops and Thomas Wemyss Park – Engagement Report.

The Better Neighbourhood Program (BNP) is a long-running and successful Council program that focuses on the capital upgrades of local centres outside of the Parramatta CBD. The BNP commenced in 1999 and delivers improvements to centres with the goal of enhancing safety, vitality and economic prosperity.

Between 2011 and 2019, Council has invested $11,761,333 in BNP projects, which consist primarily of:

  • Capital upgrades to local, town and neighbourhood centres,
  • Connecting Centres projects to improve access to local centres and neighbourhoods, and
  • Complementary public domain improvements.
Areas are prioritised for upgrade based on a number of factors, including the condition of the centre, its vibrancy, and its connectivity. The community voice also plays an important role and nearly 400 local residents provided feedback to prioritise projects in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial years.

Every two years, City of Parramatta’s Place Services team audit the 45 centres situated within the Local Government Area (LGA) and score them based on several criteria including, but not limited to asset condition, accessibility, shade cover, potential for outdoor dining, vacancy rates etc. The centres determined to be ‘most in need’ at that point in time are prioritised for funding.

We anticipate construction will begin in the first half of 2021. Businesses and residents will be consulted throughout the design processes and be notified when new information is available. When dates for construction are confirmed, these will be promptly shared with stakeholders.