Griffith Council draft plan earmarks parks for closure

FOUR playgrounds in Griffith could be removed and one park closed under council's new draft playground strategy released this week.

The strategy has also proposed reclassifying nine parks to reserves to reduce council's responsibilities, particularly in regards to mowing and irrigation of the land.

The review came about in response to safety concerns caused by ageing equipment, maintenance costs exceeding the allocated budget and an "oversupply" of playgrounds in some areas.

Headed by council project planner Nathan Farnell, the strategy will now go on public exhibition until the end of February so people can have their say.

If the draft strategy is approved, council will close Jacka Park on Robrick Close and remove "unsafe" play equipment from Norah Gibbons Park, Noel Hogan Park, Coates Park and the Women's Land Army Park at Hanwood equipment that will not be replaced.

"Griffith City Council is afforded ample open space and play facilities, supporting a large number of children and families," Mr Farnell said in his report.

"The issues surrounding playgrounds is not one of supply, but of deteriorating condition and lack of diversity of play facilities.

"At present, the majority of existing playgrounds in the council area are deteriorating and are a one dimensional play experience.”

Under the strategy, a greater emphasis will be placed on developing “nature-based and contextual-based play spaces”, to promote development and create greater diversity of play experiences. Mr Farnell urged the community to have its say on the draft strategy.

“We’ll be interested to see how the public feel – especially about the proposed closure of Jacka Park because we feel it’s not serving much community value,” Mr Farnell said.

“Because it’s community land, there’s the option of selling the block and using the money to further enhance other playgrounds in that area.

“We’ll be really using this consultation period to gather responses and it’s more than likely plans will change.”

Any playgrounds removed or parks closed will be due to safety concerns and a perceived oversupply in each particular area, according to Mr Farnell.

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