May 5, 2010

Shade cloths in Parks ­ Yes or No!

I’ve had a few calls recently from local residents – and in particular – asking why Council won’t make shade cloths part of our playgrounds.  They make a strong case for shade cloths, especially during the summer months.  

We’ve had shade cloths in some of our playgrounds in the past but they’ve never been able to survive vandalism.  We put them up, the kids and their parents and carers like the shade from the sun but then – and there’s always a “then” – vandals seem to take great delight in setting the shade cloths on fire.  It happens in our City and it happens in neighbouring council areas.  

We patrol the playgrounds, we know locals keep a watch on them as do the local police.  But in the early hours of the morning some imbecile thinks it’s a good idea to set the shade cloth on fire and watch it burn.  If we could stop vandalism – mindless damage of what are community assets – then we’d almost live in a perfect world.  But we can’t.  

I do feel for those who ask us to put up shade cloths but Council can’t expect our ratepayers – the men and women who live in our City – to keep footing the bill to replace burnt out shade cloths.  I hope everyone understands why we must make this decision, as unpopular as it is with some in our City.  Unfortunately, we must.

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