Defence Family Matters : May 2016
28 CREATING PARKS WITH PURPOSE DEFENCE HOUSING AUSTRALIA What are the TOP 10 THINGS that your family LOOKS FOR when deciding on a NEW HOME? Schools close by? Public transport? Distance to work? Sure, those things might be top of the agenda for mum and dad, but the kids are all about the places to play! Defence kids are not alone, with data across the country showing families are now looking for more community facilities when looking for their new home. The people who build the houses are also listening. Defence Housing Australia (DHA), the provider of service residences for ADF families, is taking a new approach when planning the development of Defence housing. DHA’s acting managing director Jan Mason said one of the biggest challenges Defence families face when relocating was getting to know the community. “We decided on what we like to call ‘parks with purpose’—public open spaces that encourage families to become part of their community,” Jan said. At DHA’s new Bluewattle development in Townsville, the organisation is already seeing the fruits of its labour. Bluewattle includes Jeff Caddies Park, named after a Townsville war hero and Changi prisoner of war, and built before the foundations were laid on the first house. “It has become a focal point for families, groups and individuals within the local community. “Approximately 20 groups use the park facilities each weekend—from mothers’ groups to get-fit groups. This number is growing steadily, as is the park’s reputation as a safe and fun place to go,” Jan said. DHA will continue to focus on building better communities for current and future residents. n www.dha.gov.au 28 INTHESPOTLIGHT Bluewattle will incorporate connected walkways, cycle paths, exercise zones and tropically inspired community spaces. State-of-the-art playgrounds, picnic and barbeque areas encourage neighbours to mingle, while the kids play. Photo used with permission.