ECCO Ripley has officially opened the first stage of its $5 million-plus, 10-hectare parkland and recreational precinct with the unveiling of a park named in memory of one of the community's most popular four-legged resident.
Pebbles Park takes its name from the 16-year-old Staffordshire Terrier that belonged to one of the first residents to call the Ecco Ripley community home, Trent Buchanan.
The newly opened park includes the region's highly anticipated first dog exercise park and is in Ecco Ripley's second neighbourhood, Lighthaven.
It was formally opened to the public by Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli on Saturday, March 17 at an event hosted by Ecco Ripley to celebrate the launch of the new park.
The event, named Dog Day Out, attracted more than 500 people on the day.
Mr Buchanan, who attended the opening with his new dog Misty, said he was humbled by the decision to name the park after his loyal and much-loved sidekick of 16 years.
"It's a fitting memory for Pebbles, who was a very sociable dog and who I took along to a lot of Ecco Ripley events,” he said.
"She even went along when the community hosted the Ipswich Jets footy clinic and she got her collar signed by Sam Thaiday.
"I would always walk her around the community and people would say hello to Pebbles before they said hello to me.”
Mr Buchanan said he and Pebbles had been unofficial ambassadors for pet ownership in Ecco Ripley since moving into the community in late 2015.
He said Pebbles had featured in his home owner video testimonial for Ecco Ripley and had helped to promote pet safety ahead of a community fireworks display.
"It's great the way that Ecco Ripley acknowledges the significant role that pets play in many residents' lives, especially people like me who don't have kids,” he said.
"Pet ownership isn't at the forefront of many communities and it's wonderful to see Ecco Ripley giving it a bit of focus.”
Ecco Ripley development manager Frank Galvin said Pebbles Park would be a focal point of outdoor activity for both the local and regional community and was one of the many green hubs planned within the Ecco Ripley masterplan.
"We chose to name the park after Pebbles who recently passed away and who, along with Trent, is a household name around Ecco Ripley,” Mr Galvin said.
"Pebbles was known and adored by the entire community and it's really appropriate that she is forever remembered in this way.
"The dog park recognises the special place that pets hold in the lives of our residents and acknowledges their need for a dedicated off-leash space that is easily accessible.
"It is just a part of what Ecco Ripley's massive green heart will eventually offer this region in terms of active and healthy lifestyle opportunities.
"It really will offer something for everyone in terms of active and passive recreation.”
Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said Pebbles Park was a magnificent community asset that would bring together Ecco Ripley's residents, visitors, and their four-legged friends.
"Pebbles Park is a shining example of the facilities that create the fabric of a community, which is so much more than just houses,” Cr Antoniolli said.
"It's an important place where residents can interact and connect while also finding time to be active and to relax.
"These are the spaces where a sense of community is built and maintained.”
Pebbles Park reinforces Sekisui House's commitment to delivering exciting and needed infrastructure and amenities to the local and regional community.
The community will have a total of 40 hectares of recreation and open space, and already more than 250,000 ground cover species and native trees have been planted.
The green hub will offer playground areas, a multi-purpose court, a basketball court, half court netball, several kickabout areas, extensive walking and bike tracks, a learn-to-ride bike track, a life-size snakes and ladders game, an outdoor gym, barbecue area and picnic shelters.
Footballers of all abilities will be able to refine their skills on the various kickabout areas, with one of the larger spaces including combined soccer and rugby goalposts.
LED Smart lighting will illuminate the largest playground area, walking tracks and the amenities block, while a large sundial will be installed for educational purposes.
There will also be areas where workers and shoppers from the nearby $1.5 billion Ripley Town Centre can take a break and relax.
Ecco Ripley's Lighthaven neighbourhood offers the closest residential land to the Ripley Town Centre, the first stage of which is nearing completion and includes a full-line Coles supermarket, 20 speciality shops and a medical centre.
The Ecco Ripley Land Sales and Information Centre is located at 582 Ripley Road, Ripley and is open each day from 10am-5pm.
For more information contact 1800 747 539 or visit eccoripley.com.au.
To see photos from the day, turn to pages 8 and 9.