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21 century play area to be constructed at Wallace Park

An i-play system similar to the one due to be installed at the new Wallace Park Playpark.
An i-play system similar to the one due to be installed at the new Wallace Park Playpark.

A 21st century play facility with equipment costing around 400,000 is due to be installed at Wallace Park within the next few months.

The revolutionary solar powered 'i-play system' will be just one of the attractions at a state of the art playpark which will push the total bill for phase one of the refurbishment of the park to between 500,000 and 600,000 forcing developers Scott Wilson to make some economies on work planned for the rest of Lisburn's 'green lung'.

A Hags Pedal Roundabout.Details of the scheme, which could get underway as early as February, were unveiled at this month's meeting of the City Council's Leisure Services Committee.

Other features at the playpark will include an 8.2 metre 'WOW Factor Unique Mountain Tower, a variety of slides and two 25 metre aerial runways.

The developers say they will make full use of the topography of the site to ensure the play facility has maximimum visual impact over as wide an area as possible.

The large section of the playground dedicated to younger children will feature at least 13 different pieces of equipment.

One of these will be a 'Hags Pedal Roundabout' which children will power themselves by means of pedals. The pedals will not only provide the children with exercise but also eliminate the need for parents to make the roundabout revolve.

An artists impression of the 'Wow Factor Unique Mountain Tower'Representatives of Scott Wilson told councillors this piece of equipment was just one example of how the playpark could be used by both able bodied children and those with disabilities as it includes a seat for those with mobility problems.

A nearby 'trim trail' for children will feature 13 different activities including log walks, a 'wobble board', a Burma bridge and a mini-suspension bridge.

However, the i-play system, one of approximately 10 in Ireland, could well prove the biggest draw at the playpark which is expected to attract children from a wide area and which the developers say will be on a bigger scale than the playpark in the Stormont Estate.

An artist's impression of families enjoying one section of the Wallace Park Playpark.I-play's aim is to promote high energy exercise for the young. Its manufacturers Playdale say it is 'highly interactive, challenging and fun'.

Children can enter their scores in the 'my iplay' section of the Playdale website and view the scores of others on a league table. Teachers can use the website as a classroom tool to encourage children to identify their exercise levels as well as spark discussion and learning on the impact of exercise and diet on health and fitness.

Concerns were expressed at the meeting about the difficulty for parents of supervising individual children using different areas of the playpark at once.

However, the developers explained a central area would provide adults with an all round view of the facilities.

Ulster Star
12/12/2008