Cairns kids test $1m waterfront playground
SEVEN children have test-driven and given their overwhelming thumbs up to a new $1 million playground, viewing platform and elevated walkway as part of the $20 million CityPort Waterfront precinct in Cairns.
The youngsters were given a sneak preview of the structures three days before it opens to the public.
The children's comments ranged from "amazing" to "cool" as they became the first to try out the environmentally sensitive playground built around a 70-year-old fig tree.
Ports North senior project engineer Michael Martin said constructing the playground and viewing platform in and around the tree was a "challenge."
He said the nine-month project involved co-ordinating the playground supplier, landscape designer and structural designer to certify the area.
Mr Martin said preservation of the tree was paramount.
"We did not wish to risk killing the tree so every footing of between 50 and 60 was individually dug to avoid damaging the roots," he said.
The mainly timber structure is made from spotted gum hardwood for its durability and strength.
There are spiral slides, rope climbing structures, bridges and a cushioned fall ground surface.
Nearby is a fishing jetty, complete with rod holders, a fish cleaning table and barbecues.
Five-year-old Harrison Mahar, of St Gerard Majella School, said the playground was "good" and his favourite part was the spiral slide while his older brother Jacob, 9, said it was "cool" and he preferred the "secret slide."
The foreshore project completes the 1.6km public waterfront promenade from the Esplanade to the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal.
The open day starts at 10am this Saturday, with a free sausage sizzle, a jumping castle, face painting and other entertainment for the whole family.
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Big fun: Lila Horobin, 9, Xavier Martin, 8, Harrison Mahar, 5, Madeline Mahar, 7, Jacob Mahar, 9, Annelise Shepherd, 9, Flynn Martin, 10, and Maya Shepherd, 7. Picture: BRENDAN FRANCIS