Leo Hoffmann Reserve upgrade
What we heard report
From 21 March to 25 April 2023, we had a chance to hear from you about how you want to use and experience Leo Hoffmann Reserve. It was great to get feedback from everyone.
The community engagement process
Results from the consultation
We've completed both online and in-person pre-design consultations and we are thrilled to share the results with you.
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"Leo Hoffmann Reserve, where activity and fun converge"
In response to an open text question asking what you love about the reserve, the sentiments expressed indicate that people are particularly drawn to the open space and trees. Many also appreciate the location of the reserve. Additionally, the active recreation spaces at the reserve seem to be a popular attraction.
Topping the list of what respondents love is the size and potential of the reserve, and the open space and greenery, which offers a relaxing and serene environment for visitors to enjoy. The playground is also a popular attraction, providing entertainment and play time for children.
Leo Hoffmann Reserve is situated in a prime location that attracts a high volume of foot traffic from the local community. The pathways at the reserve serve as a popular thoroughfare, providing easy access to key destinations such as the train station, local shops, schools, and Newport Lakes Reserve. Whether it's commuters rushing to catch a train or families heading to the park, Leo Hoffmann Reserve is a convenient and well-used hub for people on the go.
The large, established trees at the reserve is another draw, offering shade and a tranquil setting. The hoop court and tennis wall are widely used, and the footpaths provide a great opportunity for exercise. The reserve also offers ample space for sport and for dogs to run and play.
"With changes in sight, the future is bright"
What you would change
After receiving feedback regarding what you love about Leo Hoffmann Reserve, it became apparent that there are several areas that need improvement. We received a range of suggestions from you regarding changes you would like to see to the reserve. The main requests include improving play equipment, upgrading the hoop court and tennis area, and enhancing the green open space.
Improving accessibility and safety, providing more shade, and having a dedicated area for dogs are also popular requests. Respondents also want to see the installation of public toilets, more benches and seating and more areas to gather and socialise. Treating the dry grass, improving the gazebo area, installing more bins, upgrading the lighting and installing new drinking taps were also suggested. It is evident that the community is eager to see a wide range of improvements to the reserve to make it more enjoyable and accessible for all.
Let's look at the main categories in more detail below.
"Revamp the play and have a ball of a day"
One common complaint is that the current play equipment is only suitable for primary school age children, leaving toddlers and older children without suitable recreation activities. Additionally, we heard the dated plastic and metal equipment needs upgrading and visitors would like to see more natural materials used and also a soft fall ground surface at the play area to ensure safety.
To combat the hot sun during summer months, visitors suggest adding shade to the play area.
Ideas for play spaces
Climbing enthusiasts would appreciate a climbing wall or other interesting climbing structures, and a cubby house and swing seat are also popular requests. Visitors also hope for the addition of a big swing, monkey bars, zip line, and flying fox, with more seating around the play area. Water play and sand play are mentioned as being popular with younger kids, as is a mini traffic track.
More adventurous visitors would enjoy a ninja warrior course, maze, and wooden stumps to play on. A huge slide, inground trampolines, and a music zone are also popular requests. For those looking for more active pursuits, a skate/BMX/pump track would be a welcome addition.
Finally, visitors suggest upgrading the hopscotch, installing colourful stepping stones, an obstacle course, and an educational play area.
"With green space suggestions, let's enhance our outdoor sessions"
One common complaint is that the vast grass area adjacent to Newcastle Street is not being utilised to its full potential, with visitors suggesting better quality grass, irrigation, ground leveling, weed control, and maintenance to make it more attractive with some open space left for play. Some visitors suggest treating the dry grass to make it more suitable for activities such as sports. A written subission received from Newport Lakes Primary school (NLPS) recommends replacing a section of the grass area next to Newcastle street with synthetic turf, making it easier to use for sports and other activities throughout the year, regardless of weather conditions.
Ideas for the green open space
Visitors are hopeful that the open space at Leo Hoffmann Reserve can be utilised for something meaningful, such as creating a soccer or footy pitch complete with goals, cricket nets where local children can train, or tennis courts. Additionally, it is suggested that constructing a multipurpose basketball/netball court would be a popular addition to the reserve.
Visitors propose various ways to enhance the natural beauty of Leo Hoffmann Reserve, such as planting more native trees and adding more landscaping with native and fragrant plants. Additionally, they suggest creating better-defined areas to make the reserve more functional and establishing a meditation/wellness/quiet/sensory area. To add to the visual appeal of the reserve, visitors suggest installing murals, public art installations, indigenous artwork, and informative signage.
To bring people together and promote sustainability, some suggest establishing a community garden at the former Islamic Centre site along Oxford Street. In addition, a few respondents propose that bringing community markets to the area would also enhance the sense of community.
"Better leisure, for fun without measure"
It is evident that the ball hoop and tennis wall area at Leo Hoffmann Reserve is an incredibly popular attraction among visitors. However, we received several suggestions to improve this space. One of the most common complaints is that the space does not allow for both activities to occur simultaneously.
Additionally, visitors suggest leveling the ground near the hoops so that large puddles don't remain in the way after rain.
Ideas to improve leisure activity
Visitors suggest separating the two activities (basketball/netball hoop and tennis wall) and creating a half-court, as well as adding more courts and/or making the existing court bigger. Visitors would also like to see the existing court extended so that both sides of the wall can be used and creating a multipurpose full basketball/netball court. Separate tennis courts would also be a popular addition to the reserve.
A number of respondents also asked for outdoor fitness equipment that teens and adults could use for exercise.
"Accessible and safe, for all to enjoy the space"
Accessibility and safety are two key areas where visitors would like to see improvements made at Leo Hoffmann Reserve.
Ideas to improve accessibility and safety
Visitors suggest making the reserve more accessible from William Street by improving the steep climb off the road. Also beautifying and creating more welcoming entrances to the reserve with better looking entryways and signage. Another area of concern is the lack of a pathway parallel to Newcastle Street, which would greatly improve the connectivity and accessibility of the reserve.
Better path connectivity and accessibility, as well as fencing around the park and play area, would help to create defined zones and safe play areas within the reserve.
"Shade galore, to enjoy the outdoors even more"
One common suggestion made by visitors to Leo Hoffmann Reserve is the need for more shade. Many visitors commented on the lack of shade at the playground, which can make it uncomfortable and somewhat dangerous for children and adults during hot weather.
Ideas for shade
Visitors suggest the installation of a shade sail over the play equipment would provide much needed shade and help to keep the area cool.
Additionally, visitors suggest adding more drinking water fountains and shade for seating throughout the reserve so that visitors can enjoy the park in comfort.
Another request was to keep the current large trees that provide shade and plant additional trees that will eventually grow to provide substantial shade coverage.
"Let dogs play, in their own fenced-off bay"
Several visitors to Leo Hoffmann Reserve have expressed a desire for a dedicated area for dogs within the park. Currently, many visitors use the fenced-in empty block along Oxford Street to run their dogs off lead, but visitors suggest that a dedicated "official" area for dogs would go a long way in making the park more attractive and functional to dog owners.
Ideas for our furry friends
Suggestions received include establishing a fenced-in dog off-lead area where dogs can run and play safely with activities for dogs to enjoy with their humans.
To help maintain the cleanliness of the proposed space, visitors suggest installing dog poo bag dispensers and a water station for dogs. There is a suggestion for a dedicated puppy training area, which would provide a space for dog owners to train and socialise their pets.
"Relief on-the-go, with toilets in tow"
Leo Hoffmann Reserve attracts numerous visitors who express a desire to access public toilets. Although there were public toilets at the intersection of Newcastle and Elizabeth Streets several decades ago, they were removed due to safety concerns associated with their use, according to anecdotal evidence. Some locals, who had unpleasant memories of that period, expressed apprehension about reinstalling public toilets.
The majority of feedback received, however, including a submission from Newport Lakes Primary School (NLPS), indicates that most visitors would in fact like to see public toilets at the reserve. NLPS indicate that the absence of public toilets has a disruptive effect during school activities at the reserve, with teachers having to escort students back to the school for toilet breaks. Local parents also note that their children often resort to relieving themselves in the bushes while visiting the playground, which poses sanitation concerns and compromises the safety and cleanliness of the environment. The sentiments expressed indicate that children using the playground, the elderly and visitors using the potential BBQ area would all benefit from the availability of public toilets. In summary, the general consensus indicates that public toilets would encourage people to stay longer and enjoy the reserve more thoroughly.
"Connect and have fun, with amenities for everyone"
There was a strong desire among the community to improve the spaces used for social interaction and available amenities at Leo Hoffmann reserve. There are concerns about the lack of decent amenities, like a drinking tap that has a fountain, bottle filler, and dog hydration station. There is also no dedicated structure to lock up bicycles. Additionally, more bins, especially dog poo bins, and seating with shade are requested. The gazebo area was also described as tired, uninviting, and largely unused.
Opportunities and amenities to improve social interaction
Many respondents suggest establishing a new under cover space for kids parties, gatherings, and small events. A BBQ area is a popular suggestion, with 68 mentions for a BBQ area, indicating it would encourage people to stay longer and socialise while enjoying a meal. There are also requests to locate the BBQ area closer to the playground, or have two BBQ areas, one near the play area and one at the existing gazebo. Hangout areas for older children and adults are also suggested, along with bike locking stations. A community herb garden at the fenced-in grass area along Oxford Street is also another suggestion.
"Taken step by step, project success we'll get"
Some visitors have proposed a practical and cost-effective approach for the delivery and implementation of the upgrade at Leo Hoffmann Reserve. They suggest structuring the upgrade as a staged master plan spread over multiple financial years. This would enable a more strategic and phased approach to the upgrade, allowing the community's needs and preferences to be incorporated over time while minimising disruptions to the regular use of the reserve. The proposal is to break down the upgrade into stages, so that Council can focus on delivering some stages first and then plan for subsequent stages over the following years. This approach would also enable Council to allocate budgets for each stage, ensuring that sufficient funds are available for each year's upgrade works.
Where to from here?
We're going to use all of the comments and suggestions we received to help us create a concept design that takes your needs into account. The draft concept design will be available to view and for comment here on Participate.
This page will also be updated with any changes or developments to the project as it progresses. If you would like to stay updated on any future updates or changes to the Leo Hoffman Reserve upgrade project, please subscribe to the page by clicking on the +follow button located at the top of the page. This will ensure that you receive regular updates and information about the project via email.
Thanks for being a part of the process!