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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3088 ..

playground which has been there for 20 or 30 years, but it is currently boarded up, and it has been like that for the best part of a decade. It is seen by many residents as an eyesore. They would like it to be taken down and replaced with a useful piece of equipment to add value to the playground.

To be frank, at the moment it is boarded up. What this means is that, I guess, typically older teenagers clamber up the outside of the structure, get into the top and smoke bongs in there. They often break off bits of wood and light a fire inside the tower in wintertime to keep warm. I think that is more of a danger than the tower ever was on its own, having kids clambering up the outside of the structure. It takes up space that could otherwise be utilised by a useful piece of equipment. For example, the proponent of this petition has suggested that the existing materials from the tower could be potentially recycled and redesigned into a viewing platform over the duck pond.

I would like to mention at this point that the duck pond recently had maintenance undertaken on it, which is a great thing, to remove some of the silt and some of the macrophytes and vegetation on the little island in the middle of the pond. Residents have, generally speaking, been really receptive and happy about that maintenance work on the pond. But they are, generally speaking, sick of seeing the barricaded tower taking up space in the playground. I think the proponent of the petition would have liked to go doorknocking to seek more signatures on the petition but, of course, with COVID and the lockdown that was not possible for them.

If changes were made to include another piece of play equipment at the playground, I am really confident that residents would utilise the space even more. It is a beautiful area. It is really popular with local residents and we should be encouraging and supporting residents to spend more time outdoors. We have got the ducks and we have got the purple swamphens. There are blue-tongue lizards. There are a few snakes around as well, but that is all part of that natural environment. The locals there take great community spirit in warning other people. If you are walking around the pond they might, as you pass them, say, “Watch out for the brown snake underneath the bridge.” It is just part of that general give and take in the community that we like to see.

If the recent lockdown has taught us anything, it is that investing in our local play spaces and community spaces is so valuable. It is what residents want, and they want to spend more time outdoors. I am really pleased to see this petition come to the Assembly.

Municipal services—Hackett shops—petition 12-21

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong) (10.15): I am pleased to table this petition today for the people of Hackett, who would like access to public toilets at their local shops. Since becoming a member for Kurrajong, I have become aware of the need for public toilet facilities at a number of local shops in the inner north, including Hackett, Downer and Watson. We are so lucky to have thriving local shopping centres with great cafes and shops. All of these local shopping areas are close to well-loved and

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