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.
The park opened in February 2021 and is managed by Central Coast Council.
Leagues Club Park's transformation has been honoured with the following accolades:
- National Trust Heritage Awards 2021 -Judges' Choice Award winner
- National Trust Heritage Awards 2021- Aboriginal Heritage Award winner
- Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Awards for Excellence 2021 - Social and Community Infrastructure winner
- NSW Premiers Awards 2021- Well Connected Communities with Quality Local Environments finalist
- Place Leaders Asia Pacific Awards 2021- Commended finalist
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.
Sharing local culture
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.
Review of environmental factors
The works on Leagues Club Park were undertaken by HCCDC on behalf of Central Coast Council. The various components of the park were assessed against the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 and found to be either exempt development or development permitted without consent.
We considered the potential environmental impact of the works in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and found that the impacts were not significant and an environmental impact statement was not required.
Frequently asked questions
The park is on Crown Land, and under management and maintenance of the Central Coast Council.
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.
Construction started in late 2019 and was completed in February 2021.
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.
A toilet block has been provided within the park, with open air showers also included.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is some car parking on Baker Street, with plenty of on-street parking around the site.