Creating play

PARENTS are having a crack at creating an “official” nature playground in a Palmyra park where kids recently fell foul of authorities for creating their own fun.

Three weeks ago Melville council flattened the kids’ bike track in the un-named bushy reserve because of “public safety concerns” (“No fun allowed,” Herald, August 23, 2014) after receiving just one complaint.

Now, long-term local resident Jill Willetts wants to make the park a nature playground by turning the fallen branches the council regularly clears into stepping stones and balance beams.

She’s already negotiated to get trees due to be axed in a nearby residential subdivision relocated into the park.

“It will give the kids the opportunity to develop creativity and explore natural space, and to create their own play,” says Ms Willetts, an early childhood teacher.

• Jack Grant has a bit of fun in the park. Photo by Steve Grant

• Jack Grant has a bit of fun in the park. Photo by Steve Grant

She says the complainant doesn’t speak for the entire street, which is right behind the kids: that was borne out when a host of young families rocked up at short notice when told about the Herald’s interest in the park.

Ms Willetts says community engagement is an indication of the changing nature of “Pally”, with lots of young families moving in, attracted by its green spaces and the realisation of their importance to kids’ well-being. “We all grew up playing in the local park, building cubbies, playing hide and seek, collecting honky nuts, climbing, making mud pies and getting dirty,” she says.

Melville city council CEO Shayne Silcox says they’ve heard of the project but haven’t been officially approached.

He says the group can apply for funding under the council’s Robin Hood program.

Dr Silcox says the city supports nature play, noting the park is a pretty handy bit of bush for locals to play in already.


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