Page 171 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 11 February 2015

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Knob, informing them that the playground was to be removed. There was not any other warning, planning or, to my knowledge, community consultation. The locals were very distressed and I was contacted by several residents about this. Let me tell you what some said. Sally said:

When notices first went up explaining that Rocky Knob playground was to be closed and it had “passed its use-by date” I was so saddened. My back gate opens onto the playground. My family grew up playing on the equipment and my grandchildren spent many happy hours there too, so it has always been very much a part of my life.

For a short while perhaps it was under-used, but now there are many young families moving into the area and when I am gardening it is lovely to hear the birds and the sounds of the children having fun in the fresh air, using the equipment and the mums and dads talking. Also I often see teenagers sitting there chatting to each other and enjoying the peace and quiet.

I do so hope the playground can be restored and would so appreciate if the government could please liaise with the communities before taking such drastic action. Also the barrier which has been erected around the equipment is incredibly ugly; the grass is growing long and could become a fire hazard. Do you think we could be given some sort of idea as to when work might be carried out and I hope our trees are safe too? Thank you for taking an interest in this matter.

Gillian said:

This was an important community facility. It was well loved. There was a complete lack of community consultation and it is impossible for children to cross Caley Crescent to get to another local playground.

I wrote to the minister on Friday and by Monday he had backflipped. I was pleased to receive notification that he had also taken a trip to see the playground and advised that it would no longer be removed but would undergo some safety rectifications—which I understand are expected to cost around $2,000—and that it will remain a local community facility for the residents of Narrabundah.

It is really great that the minister took a trip to see this playground and worked to find a solution to keep it open. However, it deeply worries me that without the influence of local members of the community and me this playground may well have disappeared—a community facility no longer available for the suburb, a place of play and respite no longer available for the ratepaying residents.

I wonder whether this approach will continue. When it comes to maintaining playgrounds across Canberra, I wonder whether the minister will enlighten us as to the policy he has signed off on which allows such drastic decisions to be made, apparently without his knowledge and certainly without the knowledge of local residents.

Are we now in a situation where if residents do not kick up a fuss we could see playgrounds disappearing within a week and the removal of playgrounds that might

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