Booran Reserve playground in Glen Huntly could be best in Melbourne

Bianca Carmona, Caulfield Glen Eira Leader

April 1, 2017 12:00am

A CHILD’S smile might be priceless to most, but it comes with a hefty price tag of almost $11 million in Glen Eira.

The council has spent $10.8 million creating what could be Melbourne’s most expensive playground at Glen Huntly’s Booran Reserve.

It is almost twice the cost of the Royal Park Nature Play Playground next to the Royal Children’s Hospital, which opened two years ago and is considered one of Melbourne’s best.

By comparison, neighbouring Bayside Council has approved funding of almost the same amount ($10.48 million) to improve more than 60 play areas over the next 10 years.Booran Reserve in Glenhuntly will open soon.

The Leader asked Glen Eira council what bang ratepayers were getting for their buck, but the council refused to reveal a breakdown of the final bill, acknowledging only that the State Government had provided $700,000.

Leader can reveal the water-themed playground of the future boasts Australia’s first double-dome climbing net, custom-made play equipment, a water play area, outdoor gallery space, urban forest corridor and double flying fox.

Glen Eira Council infrastructure, environment and leisure director Samantha Krull said the reserve, which was formerly a reservoir, included a range of spaces that provided for play, activity and relaxation.

The construction of the playground at the corner of Glenhuntly Rd and Booran Rd is now almost five months behind schedule, building anticipation about its opening on Sunday.

Comments from the Glen Eira Residents Action Group were mostly positive, with member Vicki Howson writing: “Wow, looks fabulous … can’t wait to take my grandchildren here.”

But Ratepayers Victoria vice-president Jack Davis wasn’t impressed, saying the price tag was “ridiculous”.

“It’s an exorbitant use of ratepayers’ funds,” he said.

A Community Fun Day will be held at the reserve on Sunday, April 9.

The official opening will be held on Tuesday, April 11, by Victorian Minister for Innovation Philip Dalidakis.