Leagues Club Park
Winner of the Aboriginal Heritage and Judges' Choice Awards at the National Trust Heritage Awards 2021
New Gosford playspace
Playing safely in nature
Leagues Club Park has been transformed into a stunning nature-inspired regional play space in the heart of Gosford's CBD.
HCCDC's $10 million transformation of the parkland has delivered a world class public space including 'wild play' areas, interactive Aboriginal design elements, accessible pathways, and quality green space.
The park's innovative ‘tidal terrace’ brings the bay into the park through a shallow waterway, including sandstone animal 'islands' inspired by the nearby Bulgandry art site. When the tide rises the terrace becomes a water playzone where kids (and kids at heart) can splash, then when it falls the terrace uncovers a sandy playspace.
Award winning design
Leagues Club Park's transformation has been honoured with top accolades at the 2021 National Trust Heritage Awards for Aboriginal Heritage as well as the prestigious Judges’ Choice Award.
The park's dramatic transformation creates a nature-inspired regional play space for all ages. Designs include shady picnic areas, barbecue facilities, pedestrian paths and inclusive, nature-inspired play areas.
Leagues Club Park addresses opportunities identified in the Government Architect NSW’s Gosford Urban Design Framework, which guides the development and renewal of the city. It marks another milestone in the continued revitalisation of Gosford, creating a vibrant, family-friendly space attracting locals and tourists into the CBD.
By working closely with the Gosford community and Central Coast Council, we have created a unique recreation destination that can be enjoyed by all, regardless of age and ability.
The Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council played an integral part in the park's design. Local Aboriginal culture has been imbued into the site's cultural heart, a circular gathering space formed by large timber poles. These are adorned with stunning designs by a local artist and will create a unique space for the community to gather, relax and learn.
The park's tidal terrace is also filled with sandstone animal 'islands' inspired by the nearby Bulgandry art site, that are covered and exposed as the tide rises and falls.
Leagues Club Park regional play space at Gosford is a project (Project) led by Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation (HCCDC) to assist in accelerating growth, private investment and development in the Central Coast region. This Project involved repurposing the Gosford City Park (also known as the Leagues Club Park) into public open space and a regional playground.
Who owns and maintains the park?
The park is on Crown Land, and under management and maintenance of the Central Coast Council. This will not change.
Who developed the regional playground and park?
HCCDC oversaw the design and construction of the new regional playground and park. This follows the announcement by the (then) Minister for Planning in May 2018 for public domain improvements in Gosford. Central Coast Council will be responsible for managing and maintaining the facilities.
When will the new park be built?
Construction will start in late 2019 and was completed in February 2021.
What does the park include?
The design of the park promotes nature play and allows users of all ages and abilities to absorb the site’s rich history. The innovative design of the tidal terrace tells stories of nature and provide a unique experience with each visit. The Aboriginal art celebrates the indigenous historical significance of this place. Key features of the park include:
- community node – a space for the community to come together and meet, perform or just sit and relax
- Ray Maher Field – an open space area for informal sports and to host markets and larger events
- regional playground – nature-based play areas including climbing equipment, a slide and tunnel, and natural obstacles
- tidal terrace – enabling the connection with the Brisbane Water through the rise and fall of tidal water
- barbecue and picnic facilities, amenities block and a variety of seating options.
Are there toilets or change rooms?
A toilet block has been provided within the park, with open air showers also included.
Was safety considered in the design?
The design of the park has considered the safety of all visitors and users to the space. The lighting has been designed to ensure that key routes are well-lit. The amenities block has been sited to maximise casual surveillance. Mounding along the Central Coast Highway has been optimised to reduce the amenity impacts of traffic but also enable casual surveillance from the road. A fence will also be installed along this boundary to reduce the potential risk of children accessing the road. Sandstone blocks and fixed bollards are provided along the Baker Street shared street to enhance pedestrian safety, with the location of trees and mounding used to reduce the potential for vehicles to enter the site.
Why was a Sydney-based principal contractor selected?
Landscape Solutions, the principal contractor, was selected following a competitive tender process, based on its ability to meet the project requirements and budget. The Landscape Solutions team working on this project is made up of an almost entirely of locals, and local sub-contractors were used where possible.
Alongside concreters from East Gosford, earthworks from Mangrove Mountain and electrical services from Tuggerah and Wyong, local artists from the Darkinjung Aboriginal Land Council have played a key role in the unique design features of the park.
Central Coast materials have also been used throughout the project, including steel from Tuggerah, aggregates from Ourimbah, plumbing equipment from Gosford and sandstone from the Coast's quarries.
Will the park be wheelchair-friendly or suitable for people with special needs?
The park is designed as wheelchair-friendly and has incorporated the “Everybody Can Play” guidelines, meaning there will be something for everybody regardless age or physical ability.
How does the tidal terrace work?
The water enters the tidal terrace via a pipe under Dane Drive. The inlet for the new pipe is located to ensure that the water quality will not be significantly impacted by the stormwater outlet. However, immediately after storm events, the water will be prevented from entering into the tidal terrace to ensure that the water quality remains high. This follows the standard advice not to swim at beaches and in enclosed waters immediately after rain.
The water is limited to be no more than 300mm deep. In the event of rainfall coinciding with a high tide, the tidal gates can be used to stop water entering the terrace once it reaches maximum permitted depth. Excess water can be pumped out if needed.
Is the tidal terrace water safe for children to play in?
The water quality of the Brisbane Water, which provideS the water for the tidal terrace, has been tested to ensure that it is clean enough for play. The depth of the water will also be limited to provide for paddling depth only.
How is the tidal terrace cleaned?
The water will completely empty out of the tidal terrace between tides, allowing for it to be cleaned naturally by the sun and rubbish to be removed. Council will implement a cleaning and maintenance regime.
Will oysters and algae grow in the tidal terrace?
The tidal terrace is designed to be completely emptied of water twice a day in line with the tides. This makes it difficult for oysters and algae to grow. However, a regular maintenance regime (including pressure cleaning) will be implemented.
What will happen to the existing trees?
Most of the parks original trees have been either left where they were or relocated within the park. Some smaller existing trees have been removed.
How do I get to the park?
Bike racks have been included in the design of the park and users are encouraged to use more sustainable forms of transport such as carpooling or public transport. The park is also within walking distance from Gosford Station, bus stops and public car parks.
Where can I park if I want to visit Leagues Club Park?
There is some car parking on Baker Street, with plenty of on-street parking around the site.
Why wasn’t a development application required?
HCCDC is a public authority, and are delivering the park on behalf of Council. A development application was not required, but instead HCCDC considered the potential environmental impacts of the park through a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) process. Council were consulted heavily through the design of the park, and through the REF development.
A Review of Environmental Factors, or REF, is a document used to consider the environmental impacts of a proposal which doesn’t need development approval. Council were given the opportunity to provide input into the REF before it was finalised, and their comments and concerns were addressed.
Will Kibble Park also be redeveloped?
The funding for public domain improvements will be focused on the Leagues Club Park upgrade and HCCDC will not be undertaking any works to Kibble Park. Council may decide to undertake works to this park themselves.
The works on Leagues Club Park are being undertaken by HCCDC on behalf of Central Coast Council. The various components of the park have been assessed against the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 and found to be either exempt development or development permitted without consent.
We have considered the potential environmental impact of the works in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and found that the impacts will not be significant and an environmental impact statement is not required.
The review of environmental factors to support this finding can be viewed here. Supporting studies which consider various aspects of the proposed development can be provided upon request - contact us for more information.