Council comes off fence for safety

MORE than 18 months after 21-month-old toddler Travis McCarron tragically drowned in a pond near a Banora Point playground, Tweed Shire councillors have finally decided to put up a fence.

The decision made at Tuesday night's council meeting came a month after the findings of a prolonged coronial inquiry which called on the council to erect a fence and warning signs.

After the coroner's inquest, spokesperson Andrew Plint, said the McCarron family has welcomed the decision.

Mr Plint who is chief executive officer of Hannah's foundation, set up to prevent drowning in Australia and raise awareness of the risks, said the decision was “excellent”.

“It's a very good start,” he added.

“It shows the councillors are listening. The shire council is to be congratulated.

“It will certainly set the standard for other councils.”

A Murwillumbah mother who led a campaign for the fencing of a number of playgrounds around the Tweed, Lisa Townsend, said she was glad the councillors had finally allocated some money towards safety fencing and that the park where Travis drowned would be fenced.

“But I wonder when they will get around to fencing Knox Park (in Murwillumbah) which also has huge safety issues,” Mrs Townsend said.

“I hope it does not take another tragedy to get that park up the priority list. If every town has one fenced park, it makes it much easier for parents and grandparents to make appropriate decisions on which park to go to.

“Tweed Shire Council has spent a lot of money on audits, I would rather they just got on with spending it on safety fences.”

The councillors voted unanimously to implement the recommendations of a playground safety audit which said barriers or screening should be erected between playgrounds and “sources of risk” such as “busy roads, water bodies etc”.

They voted to provide $60,500 towards the work which will include a fence around Russell Way Park at Banora Point where Travis was attending a daycare group outing before he wandered away and drowned.

Councillors also voted to install safety signs to “highlight the presence of a water hazard and the need for close supervision of small children”.

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