TO those who think governments don't listen to the people, residents of the Wentworth Estate have proof to the contrary.
The $30,000 playground they successfully lobbied for in Orange City Council's 2019-20 budget was completed two weeks ago and children are already making the most of the equipment.
It includes a fireman's pole, slippery dip, rock wall, swings, a see-saw and a spring rocker.
The process started a year ago when Sarah Wright made inquiries about the empty block of land on the corner of Stirling Avenue and Isaac Drive.
"We've lived here since 2013 and we had one young child and another on the way and thought it would be great to have a park here," she said.
When public consultation for the budget opened earlier this year, council staff advised Ms Wright to make submissions and a community Facebook page began.
She also conducted letterbox drops and a petition, with her children's help.
It's easy to whinge that council won't do stuff for you, but you've got to put in the effort.Wentworth Estate resident Sarah Wright
In all, 45 submissions went to the council on the matter, with a significant amount of correspondence also going directly to councillors.
Councillors Jason Hamling and Joanne McRae said they knew there was a groundswell of support.
"It was an easy decision," Cr McRae said.
Residents were later consulted on the type of equipment they wanted to see and they now say there is always someone using it.
"It feels like it's connected because you can go along to the wetland," Ms Wright said.
"We were really happy with how quickly it's been done - it's easy to whinge that council won't do stuff for you, but you've got to put in the effort and make your voice heard."
Lauren Venner said her three eldest children, aged seven, five and three, were all able to enjoy the equipment.
"My seven-year-old loves the rock climbing wall and my five-year-old loves the see-saw and I've met more people in the neighbourhood since it's been here," she said.
Cr Hamling said it was good to see the residents come together.
"The amount of support was the first thing that got our attention - people being proactive and being part of the process," he said.
The success has spurred a change in consultation for next year's budget, with the council opening its YourSay portal early so residents can have an impact on priorities before the draft is assembled.
They can also vote and comment on other people's ideas.
Cr McRae said the pool of council funds was finite, but requests could show the council which projects were top priority for residents.
"The one thing I've taken from this is the council does listen," she said.
"This has built a neighbourhood and that's what it's all about."
The site is accepting ideas until December 9.
Once the completed draft budget goes on exhibition in April, residents will have a second opportunity to have their say.
To add an idea, click here.
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