Risky play amps up the fun and connection at Bunbury’s Koolambidi Woola Youth Precinct

Risk Matters - Spring 2022

The City of Bunbury’s new youth precinct, Koolambidi Woola, has successfully married design and a strong risk management approach to deliver for the local community

The City of Bunbury proudly opened the Koolambidi Woola youth precinct in July 2022 after years of work. The City’s approach provides an excellent example of how the combination of community consultation, design and risk considerations can successfully deliver a facility that provides the community with plenty of opportunity to connect and have fun. 

 “The objective was to develop an underutilised reserve in the CBD into a well-designed and inclusive youth precinct that caters to a diverse range of activities and improves opportunities for the youth of Bunbury,” said Colleen Smythe, Project Coordinator at the City of Bunbury. 

The precinct has been named Koolambidi Woola which translates to ‘celebrating young people’. It includes a skate park and bowl, beginner and advanced parkour, multi sports court, climbing net, maze, mini golf, climbing wall and a building for youth activities.

While approaching the design and development process for the precinct, the City committed to significant community consultation. It engaged with local schools, community
members and the skate community to understand their needs.

The new facility has proven popular with the local community.
“It is great to see how beautifully the community has showered its love for the new facility. In the first week that it was open, it was absolutely full of people of all ages and the feedback has been incredibly positive” said Colleen Smythe from the City of Bunbury.

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Where we’ve been

Over 120 people attended the CEO Breakfast or Local Government Risk Forum on Tuesday 6 September 2022, at Crown Perth.
Representatives from across the state — from Port Hedland to Esperance and everywhere in between joined together to network and explore current risk issues for the sector.

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It was great to have the LGIS team visit site mid construction so that we could get valuable feedback before we opened the space to the public. The LGIS team were friendly and helpful, and their report was detailed and informative.”

Colleen Smythe

LGIS’ role in design and development process

“LGIS were engaged to provide initial advice during the design phase of Koolambidi Woola and also during construction to complete a risk assessment” says Colleen Symthe.

The City of Bunbury first asked the LGIS liability risk assessment team in 2020 to consider the draft design of the youth precinct and provide advice. 

LGIS Risk Consultant, Ian Proudfoot worked closely with the City of Bunbury reviewing the design and taking into account the various uses of the site and the potential risks involved. 

“After reviewing the initial design concept we provided risk advice – identifying potential areas of concern and suggesting ways to either eliminate potential risk or adopt a control to reduce the risk.” Ian said.

“There’s always an inherent risk in this type of facility, if it doesn’t present a certain element of risk or challenge it’s unlikely to capture the ongoing interest of the youth. 

With our advice to the City of Bunbury we aimed to highlight the risks, particularly those that were not necessarily obvious or simply not
contemplated with a design that is understandably focused on the user experience. We then offered practical controls to address those risks, the goal being that ultimately the City was well informed and could make a decision that best suits their risk appetite,” Ian continued.

Key considerations in the LGIS review was the City’s duty of care to precinct users that arises from the common law and specific legislations including Occupiers Liability Act 1985 (WA) and Civil Liability Act 2002 (WA). 

Following the preliminary advice, the LGIS team joined representatives on-site during the construction stage. This led to meaningful conversations with the project managers to explore the risks as the site was developed. Following the site visit LGIS provided a detailed report identifying potential risks and liability exposures along with direction for risk treatment options.

Sample areas of recommendation for the youth precinct

  • Review the safety of pedestrians accessing the precinct from other City areas.
  • Develop and place signage from the points of entry to individual areas of activity where additional information and risks warnings may be required.
  • Confirm compliance with requisite Australian Standards in certain activity areas, including the associated equipment/infrastructure and installation.
  • Delineate changes in surface levels at certain locations to highlight hazards. This includes considering the effect of existing lighting.
  • Develop an inspection and maintenance program for the facility with engagement of specialist advice and skills.

LGIS liability risk assessments

LGIS conducts liability risk assessments for members across the state. We encourage members to use this service when they’re considering new developments – the earlier we’re involved the earlier we can provide you with advice to support your decision making. We often provide assessments for existing assets or facilities before ownership or management is transferred to a member. For example, this might include the divesting of state government assets or gifting of community property to the member.

Liability assessments are provided to all local governments as a benefit of LGIS membership. For more information contact the risk services team. 

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