Foul throw

RESIDENTS surrounding a small park in the Northbank development say older kids have been left with few recreation activities after Fremantle council ripped out an impromptu basketball court.

Ian Brownfield lives across the road from the Feany Street park, and while he reckons he’s a bit long in the tooth for slam dunking these days, he says it’s great seeing groups of youngsters out shooting hoops after school.

“Often there’s up to a dozen kids out there, but on average there’s three or four and often you see the adults out there playing with them,” Mr Brownfield said.

“It’s well anchored, so it’s not going to fall out,” he says of the hoop and backboard which an enterprising local dug into the soil with a bag of concrete and pvc pipe. It’s also quiet because the ball only bounces on grass and he’s not aware of any complaints from the neighbourhood.”

• Ian Brownfield trades some hoops with North Freo youngsters Sol Eichenberg and Ryan Gray. Photo by Steve Grant

• Ian Brownfield trades some hoops with North Freo youngsters Sol Eichenberg and Ryan Gray. Photo by Steve Grant

Mr Brownfield says the only other facility in the area for youths is another basketball hoop under Stirling Bridge, but he says parents are reluctant to let their kids play there because there’s often a seedy vagrant lurking around.

Sol Eichenberg and Ryan Gray were heading across the road for an after-school game when the Herald rocked up, while another mate turned up wide-eyed with excitement after spotting the new hoop. He raced home on his bike to get changed and join in.

Sol and Ryan agree there’s not much outdoorsy stuff for them to do in Northbank, apart from the nearby river.

But a day or two later council staff removed the hoop.

Graham Tattersall, the council’s director of infrastructure, said staff spotted the hoop during routine maintenance.

“It wasn’t of a suitable quality, poorly positioned and was considered unsafe for a public space,” Mr Tattersall said.

He said the owner had since come forward to claim it.

Mr Tattersall said the council was about to review its community facilities, and he recommended Northbank ratepayers and their kids keep their eye out on the MySay Freo webpage so they could put a new hoop on the wish list.

by STEVE GRANT

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