Stawell Pop Up Park Launched Locally


Northern Grampians Shire Council and Stawell Regional Health hosted the long awaited launch of the Stawell Pop Up Park with local stakeholders yesterday morning after a significant delay caused by Coronavirus restrictions.

Council received $250,000 through the Victorian Government’s Local Councils Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package to fund the establishment of pop up parks in Halls Gap and Stawell. Stawell Regional Health donated an area of their car park for the Stawell park that is situated on the main street of Stawell between Pachamama Café and Stawell Town Hall.

The park will provide a welcome resting point for many people visiting the central business district of Stawell with potential for the space to be used for small events. The government funding is intended to increase outdoor dining and entertainment possibilities and stimulate both an economic and social recovery from the effects of Coronavirus lockdowns.

Council engaged the services of local landscape designer Felicity Brown and artist Nichola Clarke for the project. They were both given a brief to incorporate dementia friendly elements into their work.

Ms Brown has created a park with natural and sustainable features that integrate with existing surroundings and minimise waste. She has included many traditionally familiar species in the plantings of the sensory garden design to stimulate memories for people who suffer from dementia.

The park is wheelchair and pram accessible and includes a water fountain with dog bowl to maximise the feeling of a whole of community inclusive space. It is intended to suit many kinds of community events such as movie nights, live events and small celebrations.

Mrs Clarke collaborated with students from Skene Street Specialist School to create a mural for the park. She painted in a naïve style to ensure that the overall mural married the students’ work with her own painted elements in the work. In accordance with the “dementia friendly” brief she arranged the students’ work within the painting to have an “I Spy” challenge of repeated elements to make it cognitively stimulating for dementia sufferers.

Central Grampians Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN), the Victoria Police Positive Policing Unit and Council supported the collaborative artist workshop with the Skene Street students through the Victorian Government’s Youth Central Engage! program.

Present at the launch were:

  • Mayor Tony Driscoll and Crs Rob Haswell, Kevin Erwin, Lauren Dempsey and Trevor Gready with wife Jeanette and Chief Executive Officer Ms Liana Thompson from Northern Grampians Shire Council
  • Ms Kate Pryde, Lead Executive Officer, Mr Ian Martin, Director of Finance and Business, Mr Rhys Duncan, Director of Primary and Community Care from Stawell Regional Health
  • Skene Street Specialist School teacher Miss Jacinta Collier and 17 students
  • Central Grampians LLEN Executive Officer, Mrs Jane Moriarty
  • Stawell Biz President Mr Llewellyn Clark and park neighbouring business owner Ms Giovanna Monaghan of Pachamama Café

Mayor Driscoll led the proceedings with an Acknowledgement of Country and gave thanks to all the stakeholders for their involvement in the project.

“The Victorian Government’s Local Councils Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package has injected a significant amount of capital into this project and for this we are very thankful,” Cr Driscoll said.

“Thank you to Stawell Regional Health for allocating such a generous portion of their carpark for the benefit of the community and encouraging everyone to get out in the fresh air and socialise.

“Felicity Brown has done a tremendous job to transform the carpark into a very enticing and whole-of-community friendly park such that it really feels like a permanent feature of the streetscape; we now have a place in town where all generations and all abilities can gather inclusive of residents with cognitive issues.

“To top it off we have the most amazing ‘I Spy’ interactive story on the café wall now. It’s a mural full of bright colours, butterflies, flowers and lots of storytelling displaying the true artistic flair of the kids at the Specialist School steered by Nichola Clarke who is known throughout the Wimmera for her collaborative community art projects.

“Community collaboration and generosity shines through here and the Stawell community can really sing the praises of this project; come and enjoy!”

Stawell Regional Health’s food service team prepared and provided a complimentary picnic lunch of sushi, salad wraps and smoothies based on healthy eating principles and as an example of nutritious options for outdoor eating.

Ms Kate Pryde, Lead Executive Officer at Stawell Regional Health said:

“Stawell Regional Health welcomes the opportunity to contribute to this beautiful outdoor space and we encourage everyone to experience the benefits of the park and connecting and engaging with each other in our community.”

/Public Release. View in full here.