Groups unite over play­ground plan

North West Telegraph - - Sport - Robert Dougherty

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.

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