Groups unite over playground plan
Hedland’s softball, tee-ball, little league, baseball and touch rugby associations have united, vowing to fight the demolition of their shared playground.
Parents, players and some councillors gathered at the Marie Marland Reserve playground in South Hedland last weekend to voice their concerns about a report detailing the removal of the playground by the Town of Port Hedland.
Port Hedland Baseball association president Darren Cosgrove said sporting groups had not been told and he had put a petition forward to save the playground.
“They (council) haven’t consulted with the sporting associations . . . we haven’t been told anything — if they take this away there’ll be nothing for the kids to do,” he said.
“From a baseball perspective it’s only been the last couple of years we have been able to bring the families back into baseball; this (playground) is half the reason families come down because they can come down and watch the baseball and it’s somewhere for their kids to play.
The collection of slides, monkey bars and equipment used on a regular basis by about 30 children on each sporting night, was recommended to be removed under a planned Wanangkura Playground Upgrade in October.
Children would be directed to another playground 500m away, the upgrade justifying removal of the Marie Marland playground infrastructure that is close to the new playground and at the end of its life, “requiring considerable capital expenditure to meet minimum compliance,” according to the report. “The scope of the playground is to increase the access inclusion to the town’s playgrounds and provide quality play spaces for the public.”
Port Hedland Softball Association president Mitzy Cassidy said the other area was too far away and could be dangerous, a major concern to parents.
“To get to the other playground the kids have to walk through a pub carpark littered with broken glass and it’s dark,” she said.
“Our fixtures are at night, and that’s concerning to all our ladies because this is their little outing, they can put the kids here and they can watch them while they are playing.”
PHBA vice-president Kenny Brackin said the present playground was in good condition barring some cracks in its flooring.
“It has been there for about 10 years, the council say a playground’s life is eight to 10 years but there’s nothing wrong with it,” he said.
“Three years ago we had a lot of shade structures around. In the off-season they were ripped down, and we were left with skeletons.”
Port Hedland Baseball Association vice-president Kenny Brackin and supporters at the Marie Marland Reserve playground in South Hedland.