Yarra Rangers Council has installed Community Parklets in townships around the municipality to prepare the region for visitors and residents heading outdoors for COVID-safe picnics and social interaction.
Council has installed parklets as part of the State Government’s Neighbourhood Activity Centre Renewal Fund, to encourage people to connect with their communities, support local traders, and take congestion off footpaths as COVID restrictions ease.
Parklets have been installed in Upwey, Kallista, Olinda, Sassafras, Mt Dandenong, Montrose, Mt Evelyn, Seville and Healesville.
Council said the parklets also helped to showcase the talent of local artists, who had also been heavily impacted by successive lockdowns.
“Each parklet features bespoke artwork that was commissioned earlier this year, along with links to see more of each artists’ work, meaning that each parklet is unique to the township it is placed in,” Council said in a statement.
The parklets were designed by Council with a focus on sustainability and were produced from recycled shipping containers, sustainably-sourced timbers and native plants.
“The modular design will enable them to be reused elsewhere in the municipality once they are no longer needed in the centres,” Council said.
“Each parklet will be fitted with accessibility ramps and consideration was put into colour choices and spacing to maximise ease of access for everyone in the community.
“As restrictions ease over spring and summer, these parklets will be important in providing a COVID-safe way for locals to enjoy their communities – and local cafes and restaurants – outdoors.”
President of the Sassafras Township Group, Dion Bright of Geppetto’s Workshop, said he hopes more people will be able to enjoy the parklets, and support local business, once lockdown ends.
“I have seen people in them since the very first day,” he said.
“I think they’re beautiful, they fit the landscape and look like they belong. They’re informative too, and showcasing two local artists, that’s wonderful.”
Rebecca Wolske, a textile artist whose work appears on the Mt Evelyn Parklet, said she was excited to be part of the project.
“It was amazing to be selected. We’d been in lockdown, and missed out on so many exhibitions. It was getting disheartening,” she said.
“The fact that Council paid us – and our art gets to be out in public – made me feel wonderful.”
From midnight tonight, community members are able to gather outdoors in Metropolitan Melbourne with one other person, if unvaccinated, for social interaction.
Fully-vaccinated community members are able to meet in groups of up to five people (plus dependents) from a maximum of two households for social interaction.
Travel is permitted up to 10km from home, and social interaction is a permissible reason to leave home.