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Council has approved the construction of a new playground in Rex Smeal Park beside the existing swings.  The existing swings will remain and have been incorporated into this new design.

Work has commenced on site and is expected to be completed by mid-June 2024.  The playground equipment has been designed as an equal access space with design integration that recognises the needs of children with different levels of ability.   The colour scheme and palette are in keeping with the natural aesthetics of the park.  The playground area will have a wheelchair/pram boardwalk linking both to the carpark and amenity block,  enabling easy access in all weather conditions.

Cost of Project

Council is providing the funds for this project from their Capital Works Program.

Project Updates

May 2024

Due to weather works have been delayed the expected completion date is now end of June 2024.

April 2024

Work has commenced on site and is expected to be completed by mid-June 2024.

July, 2023

Council officers have lodged an EOI for federal funds available under the Growing Regions Program. EOIs are reviewed to determine how ready our project is to proceed, how well it meets the objectives of the program and how strongly our project aligns with the regional priorities for the area. A multi-party parliamentary panel makes recommendations as to what projects will proceed to a Full Application which are due to be lodged 1 November 2023. It is expected that the Growing Regions Program will be significantly over-subscribed.

Council was unsuccessful in securing grant funding.


The Australian Government announced on 24 October 2022 that the BBRF will be discontinued. Council officers are seeking alternative grant opportunities to secure funding to replace the playground.


Council endorsed  a grant application for the upgrade of the Rex Smeal Park playground. The Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) aims to create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional communities into the future with grants of $20,000 to $10M.


There were 206 responses across Facebook and written submissions.  A total of 163 were in support and 43 not supportive.

Those 79% in support loved the design and loved the location incorporating the fig tree. It meant children could still have access to the tree to climb and the tree means the entire playground is in the shaded area. Others noted the area felt a bit run down and this new, modern playground was an excellent solution to give it the area a much-needed lift.

For the 21% who did not support the concept, Council took on board concerns and make several changes to the concept plan.

  • A few thought it didn’t fit with the natural environment so colours were toned down
  • Some said there was already a playground, not realising it was at the end of its useful life
  • Some, particularly those in the event industry, felt the land uses weren’t compatible, so there were several changes made to reduce the impacts.

Traditional owners thought it was a wonderful concept and requested a plaque on the site The Green Ant is known as Yangka in the local Kuku Yalanji language.  It is used by them as medicine.

The full report is shown here: Consultation Report

AUGUST, 2021

Concept Plans have been completed, and have now been published for comment.   Council officers have been working on a new recreational space with Simon Maher from Landplan in Cairns. Among other things, Simon designed the Centenary Lakes Nature Play near the Cairns Botanic Gardens and Fig Tree Adventure Playground.

Deadline for feedback: Friday 27 August 2021

Community Consultation

Feedback on the concept closed on Friday 27 August.

Additional Information

Rex Smeal Park is best known for its large shady fig trees, grassy green lawns (in the wet season), coconut fringed foreshore and ocean views. It is a space enjoyed by various groups ranging from community events, weddings, fitness groups, as well as it is a place where locals and visitors relax and take in the natural beauty of the Shire.

There has not been any significant investment in this park for some time, other than patches and fix ups.

  • The grass turns brown from around August and remains that way until the rains come
  • The park generally does not cater for all abilities access
  • The park is disconnected from the Port Douglas CBD area
  • The existing playground is in poor condition and offers limited play opportunities
  • The existing playground does not visually complement the space

The Green Ant Adventure Playground seeks to address the last two points.


If you have any questions, please call Gaye Scott, 4099 9414 or email

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