A formal handover ceremony was held for the Pensioners Hill Playground on Friday.

Although open to the public for months, the children’s playground was officially opened to visitors.

Gunnedah Urban Landcare Group helped deliver the project in association with the NSW government which provided $196,051 in grant funding.

GULG chair George Truman unveiled a new plaque to mark the occasion alongside fellow landcare members as well as representatives from the office of Kevin Anderson MP, NSW government and the Gunnedah community.

Mr Truman said the playground achieved the group’s original aim, creating a facility which complemented its surroundings and encouraged children to have fun in the outdoors.

“We’re in a bush reserve here but the play equipment blends in and gives that real sense of nature,” he said.

Gunnedah Urban Landcare Group members and project representatives unveiling the new plaque at Pensioners Hill playground during its formal handover ceremony last Friday. Pictured, Peter Haley, Bruce Higham, Rod Browne, Owen Hasler, Terry Curran, Malcolm Heath, Luke Massey (office of Kevin Anderson MP), Doug Robertson, Eric Groth (Gunnedah Shire Council), Melissa Penrose (Department of Regional NSW) and George Truman.

“Plus, there’s opportunities to wander the reserve among the trees and plants, check out the lookout – it becomes a really nice area for kids, or anyone really, to be out in nature.”

Gunnedah Shire Council general manager Eric Groth congratulated the great work of the GULG volunteers on their efforts.

“We have a group of people who are altruistically doing this work,” he said.

GULG volunteer Owen Hasler thanked the organisations and individuals who provided letters of support to help get the project off the ground as well as the local tradespeople who made it a reality. Mr Hasler also presented photographs of the Pensioners Hill site from the 1950s when it was devoid of trees to give people an idea of how far it has come.

Since the playground’s ‘soft opening’ to the public late last year, new additions have been added to the area including seating, tables, a water bubbler, and watering system for the turf surrounding the playground.

A shade sail was considered but due to the size, would have required another development application. Planners were also concerned the sail would detract from the facility’s bush setting – a key aim of the playground project. Pensioners Hill reserve, lookout and playground on Lloyd Road in Gunnedah is free to the public and open year-round.

Kevin Anderson was unable to attend due to other commitments.

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