THE McCarron family and a friend leave court after the coroner delivered his findings on the death of their son, Travis.
THE McCarron family and a friend leave court after the coroner delivered his findings on the death of their son, Travis. Tweed Daily News

McCarron inquest 'a total waste'

THE grandfather of drowned Banora Point toddler Travis McCarron has slammed the findings of an inquest into his grandson's death.

Dean Travis, who was known affectionately as “papa” by his grandson, yesterday branded last week's state deputy coroner's findings a waste of time and money.

Coroner Paul McMahon's only recommendations announced in Tweed Heads Local Court were for Tweed Shire Council to undertake a review of safety signage and fence the playground equipment at Russell Way Park where the 21-month-old toddler died.

Mr Travis said he feels nothing was accomplished.

“It is with deep sadness that I note that Travis' death was so unimportant that the inquest has changed nothing,” Mr Travis said.

“Do we have to wait for another child to drown, another child to die, another family to suffer the way my family has done before something that requires a little common sense is done?” he asked.

The 64-year-old Banora Point resident said the inquest proved nothing and wasted taxpayers' money and his family's time.

“I expected something to come out about the family day care in regards to risk assessment,” Mr Travis said.

“The coroner did not recommend anything that would improve the running of family day care and the carers themselves.

“Who has the right to sit on his/her high chair and dictate where a child can die, whether it be the incompetence of a carer or the lack of foresight of a council?”

Mr Travis yesterday paid his weekly respects to his grandson at a memorial at Russell Way Park.

As always, he brought a bunch of fresh flowers picked from his own garden as well as from his daughter and Travis' mother, Kirsty McCarron's garden.

In the 17 months since Travis' passing, Mr Travis has only ever missed two of his visits, because he was out of town.

“I always told him the week before I would be away,” Mr Travis said.

“I stay and chat with him for about half an hour every Friday.”

Council previously said fencing of the playground equipment would be discussed at the next meeting on October 20.

“Fencing of the park should have been done the very next day,” Mr Travis said.

“I don't understand why we have to wait until the next meeting.”

Travis drowned in a retention pond at the Tweed Heads South park on April 11, 2008.

He was on an excursion to a nearby playground with Tweed Shire Family Day Care Association at the time.

The inquest into his death began in late April in Murwillumbah and continued in Tweed Heads over the course of a week.

More time was needed to hear all the evidence, and the inquest continued in Sydney for the first week of August.

The Department of Community Services has already charged the Tweed Shire Family Day Care Association with three breaches of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protect) Act 1998.

The criminal case will be heard on November 8 at Downing Centre court houses in Sydney.

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