Lane Cove Playgrounds – What Do Your Kids Want at a Playground?

In the last couple of years, Lane Cove Council has lifted its game when it comes to playground construction and upgrading parks and playgrounds.

Lane Cove demographics show there is a need for playgrounds in Lane Cove. The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 census data identified that over 18% of the 36,051 residents of Lane Cove were children aged between 0-14.

Lane Cove Council has published a Playground Strategy and would like your feedback.

Background

Lane Cove Council engaged a consultant to undertake a review and update the 2008 Playground Strategy.

The strategy covers the playground hierarchy, guidelines for playground design and management and a proposed 5-year Playground Replacement Program and outdoor exercise equipment.

There are 48 playgrounds in the Lane Cove Council area with most residents living within 400m of a playground.

Lane Cove has one playground for every 750 residents. The median provision for local government areas is between one for every 1,000 to 2,000 residents. The very high level of provision of play equipment in Lane Cove is the result of past practices of providing a playground within walking distance of each residence.

By contrast, neighbouring North Sydney Council has 35 (approx. one playground for every 1933 resident), Willoughby 44 (approx. one playground for every 1688 resident) and Hunters Hill 11 playgrounds (approx. one playground for every 1200 resident).

The play equipment varies from a simple swing set to a small number of district-level playgrounds with a diverse range of equipment and facilities.

Lane Cove Council’s vision is to provide well designed, sustainable and fun play environments for young people and their carers with a diverse range of quality, fun, accessible, well designed and maintained playgrounds that assist children’s physical, cognitive, social and emotional development as well as serving as community focal points that encourage interaction, understanding and community wellbeing.

The most significant changes since the council adopted its last playground strategy is an increase in replacement costs.

A comprehensive playground audit was undertaken in 2018, and another is due this year. These audits ensure equipment complies with the relevant Australian Standards. These audits have guided the playground replacement program and meant slight changes timeframes in some circumstances such as decommissioning of equipment earlier than programmed.

Lane Cove Council’s Playground Vision

Lane Cove Council’s playground vision is:

  • Safe and well maintained.
  • Designed to a high standard with diverse approaches and interesting, stimulating and fun play value.
  • Designed and located to compliment, enhance and celebrate the unique qualities of each park location.
  • Equitably distributed throughout Lane Cove and be accessible and inviting settings within a 15-minute walk of each household.
  • Accessible to children with disabilities, their families and carers where the topography lends itself, and the hierarchy determines.
  • Environmentally sustainable with suitably durable and cost-effective materials and processes.
  • Inclusive of supporting amenities such as seating, paths, shade trees and bubblers.
  • Inclusive of integrated artwork (where achievable) which adds value to the play experience.
  • Inclusive of community ideas on their design and siting.
  • Designed to be readily repaired and maintained.

Three Levels of Playgrounds In Lane Cove

District Playgrounds

There are five district playgrounds in or proposed for Lane Cove:

Blackman Park picnic area

• Bob Campbell Oval (proposed playground relocation with sportsfield upgrade)

Hughes Park

Mindarie Park

• The Canopy (proposed new play area)

Neighbourhood Playgrounds

Neighbourhood playgrounds are intermediate, second-tier playgrounds, with activities to cater for a broad range of children and carers. Because of their size, they can be designed to attract an older age group who require greater complexity, as well as for the younger children.

Neighbourhood playgrounds can often be associated with other supporting and complementary facilities such as sports fields and activities for older children such as rebound walls and basketball/netball hoops.

They are generally located on medium to large reserves, and distributed as equitably as possible, depending on reserve size and location. Associated picnic facilities are usually limited to a bubbler, picnic benches and seating as it is anticipated visitors will generally use these areas for short to medium periods (around 1 to 2 hours).

Most visitors are within walking distance of their own homes (around 800 m or a 15 to 20- minute walk) so additional facilities, such as toilets, are not essential.

Facilities such as picnic tables and barbeques are generally only considered for neighbourhood playgrounds where playgrounds are in a reserve with other facilities such as sports fields and toilets.

Fences may be installed if the playground is close to a busy road.

There are 14 neighbourhood playgrounds in Lane Cove.

• Bill Bryan Playground at Kingsford Smith Oval

Burns Bay Reserve

• Charlish Park

• Cullen Street Playground

• Helen Street Reserve

• Henley Playground

• Henningham Playground

• Kimberley Playground

• Leemon Reserve

• Longueville Park

Marjorie York Park

• Newlands Park

• Stringybark Reserve

• Tambourine Park

Local playgrounds

Local playgrounds are small scale, third tier, junior playgrounds, generally catering for children less than seven years of age.

They have easily accessed playgrounds catering for the local community.

Most of the visitors to these playgrounds are local residents living within a 5 to 15- minute easy walk from their homes, approximately 400 – 500 metres.

These playgrounds may be located on any size reserve.

Some of these local playgrounds have a swing set as their only play equipment.

Rubber surfacing is restricted in local playgrounds to high wear areas only (e.g. rubber pads under swings) as it is costly. Associated park facilities are generally limited to a bubbler and park seating as it is anticipated visitors will typically use these areas for short periods, less than an hour.

Fences may be installed if the playground is on a busy road. Local Playgrounds

There are 29 local playgrounds in Lane Cove.

• 106 Tambourine Bay Rd
• Alder Ave Playground
• Aquatic Park
• Bayview Park
• Best St Reserve
• Blackman Park at Penrose St
• Blackman Park tennis courts
• Brickhill Playground
• Carlotta St Playground
• Central Park
• Cox’s Lane Playground
• 552 Mowbray Road (replacing Girraween Playground)
• Endeavour Playground
• Finlayson Playground
• Garraway Lookout
• Goodlet Reserve
• Greenwich Baths
• Griffith Park
• Lloyd Rees Park
• Nicholls Reserve
• Osborne Park
• Pottery Green
• Propsting Playground
• Shaw Playground
• Shell Park (proposed to be decommissioned)
• St Vincents Rd Playground (proposed to be decommissioned)
• Sydney Cowell Reserve
• Tantallon Oval
• Woodford Bay Park

What Would You Like to See in a Park?

Common issues raised by ITC readers are:

  • Bubblers leak and it’s muddy around them (particularly if they have a dog drinking sprout).
  • Some parks are located near main roads but are not fenced (for example Shaw Playground).
  • There should be toilets at fenced parks as that is where you take Toddlers, and they can’t wait for you even to walk home or a park near a school (for example Cullen Str Park, Majorie York Park, Henley Park and Kimberley St Park – however, they would need to be locked at night as they are in residential areas)
  • There should be a mix of playgrounds – nature play and traditional playgrounds.
  • Both Putney Park and Gore Hill Park have interactive water features. Gore Hill Park is close to a nature play park but would not strictly meet the definition of a nature play park, but there should be a nature park in every Lane Cove Council ward.
  • There should be more shade at playgrounds.  You can’t rely on tree planting for shade.  The slide at Hughes Park is metal, and if you touch it during summer, you could burn your skin.  Hughes Park has been particularly criticized as not having enough shade.
  • Where a playground is located near large trees, tree branches should be monitored for safety.
  • Should there be a park that has “riskier” activities such as the giant spiderweb at Putney Park? The Lawson Foundation in Canada wrote a paper on the benefits of risker play for children.  If this equipment was all located at the one park, parents could choose as to which playground is best suited to their child’s age and development.

Local playground supplier, Playwork Pty Ltd has worked with Willoughby City Council and the City of Canada Bay and to make some fabulous bespoke equipment that is fun and engaging.  There should be a mixture of rustic parks and play equipment that has been installed in Mindarie Park and Hughes Park.

Play Equipment at Willoughby and Rhodes Park by local company Playworkshop

Have Your Say

To have your say on the Draft Playground Strategy make a submission to the General Manager, quoting the reference ‘SU 5866’, by:

Post: PO Box 20, Lane Cove 1595

Email: [email protected]

Submissions close 5 pm, Wednesday 24 June 2020.

If you have any enquiries contact Council’s Coordinator Parks and Urban Spaces, Helen Haigh on 9911 3565.

Documents

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