Feb 16, 2010

Parks, Playgrounds and Sporting Fields

Across our City, you find them in about every second or third street. They are big and they are small – and in between. Apart from the very streets and roads people walk along or drive on, they are, perhaps the most used local infrastructure we have. I refer, of course, to our parks, our playgrounds and our sporting fields.

We have a myriad of places that are green, where the space is open and where the level of facilities or the extent of physical exertion is up to the individual.

We have our big parks – Sir Joseph Banks Park, Mutch Park, L’Estrange Park, Rowland Park, Booralee Park and more. But then we have the pocket parks – equal to one or two blocks of land with some tales, playground equipment and lawns and shrubs.

The way we plan recreation space in this city is to align outcomes to census data. We look where the various age groups are and what the immediate facilities are. It’s no point having a playground for toddlers where there are few toddlers and more teens and sub teens.

Our sporting fields are under a great degree of stress. We have a demand we’re not able to fully meet. Like many adjoining local councils we have begun to give priority to local teams ahead of teams from outside our City. We make no apology for that, although I know it has upset more than a few sporting officials.

But our parks and our playgrounds are open to everyone, although those who use them the most usually come from the immediate area. If you live in an apartment or a home with a small backyard, then the park or playground down the street or around the corner becomes your extended backyard.

To ensure that all our residents are aware of the parks, playgrounds and sporting fields throughout our City I propose that, in the next issue, we use our publication Your City to provide a special lift-out section that sets out the locations of all the parks, playground and sporting fields and what facilities are available at each location. We’ve done special lift-out sections in previous editions of Your City and they have been well received by our residents.

Talking of something that’s been well received, go down to the new playground at Booralee Park just off Daniel Street.

I was there the other weekend and it was a great sight. There, under the shade of wide fig tree canopies, I saw a lot of kids just being kids and enjoying themselves on the new equipment. This playground, with its setting and its equipment has quickly become a local meeting place.

There are climbing equipment, slides, swings, wild net and the fortress combinations for the younger children. There are splashes of colour against the subdued soft fall and the landscaped areas. It is truly a great sight. But the best part was the sound of kids enjoying themselves as they played. Laughter, shouts and loud exchanges between the kids were, in my mind, the best advertisement for this new playground.

I also saw more than a few contented parents and carers on the sitting wall or the benches, sitting in the shade watching their children having a great time. What we’ve done down in Booralee is create a playground, with a few challenges, for different age groups. The age groups are separated so everyone gets a fair share of the equipment. I urge everyone to go down to Booralee and have a look – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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