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April 8, 2021

The city’s new inclusive playspace isn’t totally inclusive for people with disabilities

Despite Murlawirrapurka Rymill Park’s Quentin Kenihan Inclusive Playspace opening in December last year, City of Adelaide councillors were told this week it doesn't totally comply with national laws aiming to prevent disability discrimination.

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  • Words and pictures: Angela Skujins

At a city council meeting held this week, Adelaide city councillors were told by the administration they should approve extra funding next week to ensure the Quentin Kenihan Inclusive Playspace meets “DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliance and overall community and key stakeholder expectations”.

It went on to say although the council paid a construction service $900,000 in August to build the playground, an extra $190,026 is needed to allow for “enhancements” of the “path network” to provide “dedicated DDA” car parks on Rundle Road.

The Disability Discrimination Act is a national policy aiming to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities. Amongst other things it makes it illegal for public places – such as footpaths, parks and libraries – to be inaccessible to people with disabilities.

Despite not meeting all criteria required to be considered inclusive, the Quentin Kenihan Inclusive Playspace was declared open and “complete” by Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor and the State Government’s Minister for Human Services, Michelle Lensink in a press release sent out in December last year. 

“Quentin Kenihan’s dream to build an inclusive play space in the Adelaide CBD has become a reality – just in time for festive family fun,” the release says.

At a committee meeting on Tuesday night, councillor Phil Martin asked what parts of the playspace, which includes a wheelchair trampoline, sound and sensory garden, swings and waterplay zone, are not DDA compliant.

“What I’m asking for is some kind of additional knowledge so the community doesn’t jump to the conclusion that this is in fact a threat to safety rather than a means of facilitating the enjoyment of the park for people with disabilities,” he said.

“Specifically, which bits of the playground are not DDA compliant?”

CoA Director of Services, Infrastructure and Operations, Klinton Devenish, did not answer Councillor Martin’s question directly, and instead said “this report is here to talk about a contract award and seek council approval”.

“I’m happy to take that question on notice.”

Devenish added the playground passed an original safety audit, however “there are some final construction works at the end of the day” which necessitate more funding and subsequent DDA testing.

The playspace is located near the artificial lake in Murlawirrapurka Rymill Park


Councillor Martin then asked why the City of Adelaide opened the playground last year if it was not complete or did not meet those standards. 

Klinton again didn’t respond to the question directly, instead saying there were “some additional scope items that couldn’t be completed prior” such as the disability-accessible toilet and changing rooms. 

The playspace was first announced by the City of Adelaide in 2019, saying it would build a playspace accessible to people with disabilities, in memory of Area Ward candidate and disability advocate Quentin Kenihan

“The new play space will ensure all children can play together in a safe and fun environment and we know outdoor play gives children opportunities to engage with others, explore and have fun,” Minister Lensink said in a 2019 press release.

The playground remains open to the public.

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