Council wants to play it safe
“IT’S a model for all parks that are going to be upgraded around the Tweed,” said Uki-based shire councillor Barry Longland after he officially opened a new playground at Sweetnam Park on the banks of the upper Tweed River.
The opening of the playground yesterday followed continuing concern about the dangers of play areas close to water or traffic.
Earlier this week Tweed Shire Council revealed it would use a $67,500 federal grant to partially fence some play areas and erect warning signs at others.
But no further play areas are to be fully fenced, with the council citing the $20,000 it would cost each year just to maintain five such fences, because gate latches break and thieves even steal fence panels.
Council argued the new playground at Sweetnam Park, just east of Uki on the Murwillumbah Kyogle Road, provided a thick area of bush hiding the river.
“There is a very dense vegetation screen separating the park from the water and signs,” said Cr Longland.
On top of that he added the adventure playground equipment had “surfaces designed to prevent hazards.”
Before the playground was installed, the park named after pioneering dairy farmer George Sweetnam, consisted of a large grassed area with no facilities.
A council spokeswoman said mature trees had been planted in and around the play equipment to provide natural shade.
An extension to an existing pathway leads to a play area, a picnic shelter and separate picnic settings.
Cr Longland said the local community had played a big role in the project, not only in getting it off the ground but also by finding financial support.
“The upgrade of this park is a tribute to a small group of mothers who came together under the banner of the Uki Residents Association for assistance in securing around $3000 in funding for a playground,” he said.
“Through the association, they were successful in securing a small grant from the NSW Government which got this project rolling.”
Council received a further $20,000 from the NSW Government under its playground equipment upgrade program, with the council providing $35,000.
“It’s been well received by parents,” Cr Longland said.
Play equipment has “surfaces designed to prevent hazards.”