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Patience pays off at Romsey Ecotherapy Park


A grandfather and granddaughter walking and balancing on timber logs at the new Romsey Ecotherapy Park with Pine trees in the backgroundPatience is a virtue.

Just ask the committee members of the Romsey Ecotherapy Park, a nature-based health and wellbeing space.

Jenny Stillman has been one of the five tireless community members to have been with the project since the beginning 14 years ago.

With stages two and three of the park due to be completed mid-way through this year, the end of the journey is finally in sight.

However, the road hasn’t always been smooth.

“We started as a group of people with young children, trying to get a play space installed,” Jenny said.

“It was pretty difficult in the early days. We were doing things like sausage sizzles and running stalls at events, just to keep the group going,” she added.

Despite this, their ambitions for the park only grew as time passed.

The group began to look beyond the concept of a playground, towards the idea of an outdoor health and wellbeing space for the entire community and those who visit the region.

Reflecting on the evolving park designs, Jenny stressed the objective of the Ecotherapy Park to cater to all community members.

“This Park is not just somewhere for kids to play,” she explained.

“While there are those spaces in the park, it will also appeal to older people, people recovering from an illness, or people who just want a bit of time-out.

“It will be suitable for people of all ages and abilities,” said Jenny.

The park will also provide opportunities for the community to come together.

Once complete, the park will include a sensory therapeutic space, an arts culture space, ephemeral billabong including water play and sandpit, a woodland ramble, and an off-street car park.

The sensory therapeutic space will offer seated retreats, a water feature, wind and sound sculptures, rock installations and sensory garden beds.

It will be the perfect place for people to disconnect from devices, forget their troubles and reconnect with nature.

The arts culture space will offer flexible performance and venue spaces for art installations and markets, while a nearby barbecue and picnic area will be perfect for getting together with friends and family.

Aside from supporting the health and wellbeing of the community, the members of Romsey Ecotherapy Park Inc believe the space will draw visitors from further afield and contribute to the region’s tourism appeal and visitor economy.

“We hope the park will be full of life and help increase visitation, which would be great for local businesses,” Jenny said.

With 14 years of hard work about to pay off, Jenny is feeling hopeful about the future.

“I think the legacy of our park will be to inspire others to dream large and remember that good things come to those who wait,” she said.

“Hopefully we have set up something that can be enjoyed and appreciated for generations to come.”

Construction of stages two and three of the Romsey Ecotherapy Park were supported by $1.3 million from the Victorian Government with $615,000 from the Regional Infrastructure Fund 2020/2022 – Round 1and a $718,000 commitment from the Victorian Government as part of the 2018 election.

These investments build on the State Government’s previous grant of $200,000 to deliver the Park’s Climbing Forest through Pick My Project.

The project has been delivered in partnership with the Australian Government (Stage One), Macedon Ranges Shire Council and Lancefield and Romsey Community Bendigo Bank.

It has also received generous donations from the local community.