Return to the Brisbane Access and Inclusion page.
Table of contents
- Lord Mayor's introduction
- Executive summary
- Our shared vision for Brisbane
- A profile of people who benefit from better access and inclusion in Brisbane
- Council's history of access and inclusion initiatives
- Reflection on Council's changing approach to access and inclusion
- How this plan was developed
- Implementation, monitoring and reporting
- An innovative local government role
Brisbane's parks and natural areas form part of an extensive network of open space located across the city. These parks and natural areas support Brisbane's biodiversity, provide a variety of experiences for the community and contribute to achieving aspirations and targets in the Brisbane Vision.
Where we are
Council plans for, develops, manages and maintains an extensive and expanding network of more than 2000 parks and natural areas. These cover an area of almost 6000 hectares of parks and more than 7700 hectares of bushland and wetland.
Council's aim is to create a playful, friendly city for everyone which builds on the aspirations of the Brisbane Vision. The play opportunities and experiences provided in Brisbane's parks and natural areas are being tailored to park type and park hierarchy with accessible and inclusive designs being focused mainly in the district, metropolitan and regional parks. Design parameters balance a number of factors including recreation, cultural and environmental values, safety and risk, access and equity, community benefits and facility functions.
There are challenges in delivering completely accessible and all inclusive facilities in our parks and natural areas - particularly in relation to the design, installation and maintenance of facilities which have to be not only functional for their purpose but also cost effective and easy to access, use and maintain. In spite of these challenges, Council provides many accessible facilities in parks and natural areas.
Connected and accessible pathways (e.g. the foreshores parks running from Brighton to Shorncliffe and Wynnum to Lota, Boondall Wetlands walking track, City Botanic Gardens and New Farm Park). The very popular Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens have multiple pathways linked to a main, accessible car park in a challenging topography.
Creative and inclusive interpretive signage at the Mountains to Mangroves Senses Trail at the Downfall Creek Bushland Centre in McDowall.
Accessible recreational activities and facilities:
- fishing, sailing, canoeing and other water based activities at Shorncliffe Pier and Cameron Rocks, Hamilton
- facilities on the Brisbane River at Orleigh Park in West End with ‘Sailability' programs
- birdwatching along tracks and trails and in birdhides located throughout Brisbane at Karawatha and Toohey Forests, Boondall Wetlands, Tinchi Tamba Wetland Reserve and Wynnum Mangrove Boardwalk
- a range of outdoor fitness equipment at several parks including Seventh Brigade Park in Chermside and Maisie Dixon Park in Eight Miles Plains
- picnic and play facilities and public toilets in many parks and natural areas
Inclusive participation activities and educational programs are offered throughout the parks and natural area network (e.g. Active Parks, Growing Old and Living Dangerously, Real Adventure Women, Learning Naturally – Brisbane Botanic Gardens Schools Program, Habitat Brisbane and Get Wild)
Picnic shelters located close to car parks are designed for people in wheelchairs to be able to access the shelter and sit at the picnic table.
Many existing park facilities were built to the regulations of the day. Consequently, a lot of older facilities and furniture is not compliant with current legislative requirements. Council is addressing this through a recently approved suite of designs for accessible picnic tables that are being used in new facilities and in refurbishment of existing park furniture across the city.
There are some parks and natural areas where accessible facilities are provided but may not be accessible by a continuous path of travel.
Where we want to be
We want all Brisbane residents and visitors to experience Brisbane as a safe, attractive and shady city where they enjoy our subtropical lifestyle including opportunities for leisure, learning and recreation in our parks and natural areas.
- Provide facilities that enable people of all ages and abilities to play together in well maintained and safe environments.
- Provide creative interpretive signage and communication technologies that engage and inform everyone about park and natural area values including historical, environmental and cultural significance.
- Provide and maintain easy to use park furniture and facilities, using our asset management plans to increase access and compliance over time as we install new or replace existing furniture and facilities.
- Design park tracks, pathways, landscaping, furniture and facilities that provide appropriate accessibility in response to site-specific characteristics in Brisbane's often challenging hilly topography.
Limitations on what Council can provide in terms of services and facilities in parks and natural areas will be determined by many factors including cost, function, topography, location and values. Council's policy and planning tools will be used to assist in making these determinations as not every park and natural area in Brisbane will provide for, or cater for, every individual.
Existing actions that will continue
Design and provide accessible park furniture, pathways and facilities
We will continue to innovate in design and provision of facilities that make it easy for everyone to enjoy our parks and natural areas. Council has developed and documented standard specification drawings for park furniture and facilities that meet Australian Human Rights Commission's advice on Disability Discrimination Act compliance. We will continue to develop these specification drawings and make them available on our website.
Strategic asset management
We will continue to manage our parks and natural areas in accordance with strategic asset management plans that address asset life cycles and statutory obligations for accessibility including progressively replacing old picnic facilities with more sustainable materials and more accessible designs.
We will continue to engage people with access constraints in consultation processes when we develop master plans for parks and we will continue to include access and inclusion features in the design of new parks and refurbishment of existing parks with a particular focus on our district and metropolitan level parks.
New initiatives or extensions
- Access audits. We will include accessibility components into our regular condition audits of toilets, barbecues, picnic facilities, playgrounds and car parks in parks and dog off leash areas to identify instances where they are not accessible and prioritise their upgrades within existing schedules.
- Prioritising paths of travel to public toilets. We will conduct an audit of access to public toilets and develop a schedule for design and construction of accessible pathways to toilets, where reasonable, within existing rehabilitation schedules.
- Designing inclusive play experiences. As we plan, design and install new and revitalised play experiences in our district, metropolitan and regional parks, we will ensure they cater for all ages and abilities. This new initiative will not be limited to providing playgrounds but will also include a holistic approach to park upgrade or development. We will engage families and groups who will use these facilities in the design of these play experiences.
- Desired standards of service and design specifications for all abilities play spaces. We will work with Brisbane stakeholder groups to agree on a set of criteria defining all abilities play spaces, document these as desired standards of service and design specifications, negotiate a memorandum of understanding with key stakeholders and then work to implement the standards and specifications with park upgrades over the life of this plan.
- Promoting inclusive play experiences. We will list the parks that have accessible and inclusive play experiences on the Council website.
- Track standards. We will ensure all new tracks are graded and signed to indicate difficulty (to Australian Standards), providing more information about risk and required level of experience and mobility.
- Interpretive trails. We will implement technologies and signage for interpretive trails in parks and natural areas that enhance use and experience, where possible. In particular, we will link them to education extension programs and environment centres where relevant.
- Online bushwalking. We will investigate the creation of online virtual walking tracks that communicate the experience of bush walking to people who might not easily access the bush and encourage them to go on an online bushwalk themselves.
- Recreational fishing. We will work with peak bodies, government agencies, recognised clubs and organisations to evaluate current extent, usage and access of recreational fishing opportunities within Brisbane's open space network to inform future planning and management.