Call to resurrect Crown Street Mall water play park to help ailing shops - Illawarra Greens

Call to resurrect Crown Street Mall water play park to help ailing shops

"It's not our job to determine what type of shops there are, or at what price they are rented ... our job is the public domain," she said. "My grand vision for the mall is that we would have something that would keep people there for a long time and make it a destination in and of itself - the thing I would absolutely love would be a water play park like they have at Darling Harbour. When we have a reason for people to come and people to stay there - especially if kids want to come and parents will stay - it will mean they buy coffee, they do the shopping while they're there and they'll spend money there that they wouldn't otherwise do."

Indeed, about 10 years ago, the council proposed to build a children's water play area in front of the Church on the Mall. However, this design was scrapped after residents chided the council for lack of change room facilities nearby. Others raised concerns over the impact on brides getting married at the church, and the potential for people to slip on the wet ground.

Read the article by Kate McIlwain in The Illawarra Mercury, 1 September 2020

Call to resurrect Crown Street Mall water play park to help ailing shops

The April 2011 mall design summary contained this artists impression of a water play area, which was eventually scrapped due to community concerns.
 The April 2011 mall design summary contained this artists impression of a water play area, which was eventually scrapped due to community concerns.

This, she said, was one thing the council could do to entice people to spend time in the public space, and would increase the number of people visiting the mall, leading to more incidental spending

"It's not our job to determine what type of shops there are, or at what price they are rented ... our job is the public domain," she said.

"My grand vision for the mall is that we would have something that would keep people there for a long time and make it a destination in and of itself - the thing I would absolutely love would be a water play park like they have at Darling Harbour.

"When we have a reason for people to come and people to stay there - especially if kids want to come and parents will stay - it will mean they buy coffee, they do the shopping while they're there and they'll spend money there that they wouldn't otherwise do."

However, Labor councillor Ann Martin pointed out that the water play idea had been axed by the council several years ago, due to a backlash from the community.

Interactive water jets could be activated by stepping or hopscotch to sequence the jets to dance.

"Water play was actually originally in the design for the mall, but in consultation with our community, they said no," she said.

Indeed, about 10 years ago, the council proposed to build a children's water play area in front of the Church on the Mall.

This would have included spouts shooting bursts of water into the air set to music, which would have been operated by a timer system to activate at key times of the day and in different seasons.

The design included non-slip paving and "overspray areas... to ensure passers-by remain dry" and would have allowed the water feature to be switched off during ceremonial events and market days.

"Interactive water jets could be activated by stepping or hopscotch to sequence the jets to dance," the 2011 plans said.

"There is great potential for other modes of operation (eg. reflective) to enhance the presence of the church on the square."

However, this design was scrapped after residents chided the council for lack of change room facilities nearby.

Others raised concerns over the impact on brides getting married at the church, and the potential for people to slip on the wet ground.