Do city kids deserve better?

By Susan Saunders, Residents3000 Vice President

A beautiful tree-covered playground in Birrarung Marr has fallen into disrepair. Once a well-designed facility had become tired and un-loved.

Mother of two young children, Alison Fairley (a University lecturer in architecture), told me about the playground.   

“Being city dwellers, this playground is our back yard. We come here nearly every day. It is a beautiful spot with ample native shade trees with new ones planted recently,” she said. “But we have watched with dismay as the play equipment has deteriorated from lack of maintenance.”

“Many families use this playground including international visitors who need to take their children to play. When there are big events in Melbourne, like the Australian Open, famous people’s nannies bring their children here.  School children who are visiting the city choose the Birrarung Marr playground to have lunch.”

“I am embarrassed by the dirty panels, the graffiti and the broken equipment. Not only that, there is the problem of undesirable rubbish from teenagers’ night-time revelry, that is not cleared the next morning.  I am not happy to know that my little ones are exposed to littering of all sorts of ‘strange’ items. They may think that such behaviour is the norm. Surely we can do better?”

Alison told me that a play hammock has been missing for at least six months. The water fountain is always leaking, not only wasting water but causes parents concern when little ones want to play in the mud (of course!). The spiral slide is broken again, after being out of order for six months prior.  There is no swing for the older children.  

As you might expect, Alison has reported the problem to the City of Melbourne but has had no response and no action. Maybe it is time to re-do the playground altogether. Maybe a new design, brand new equipment that is easier to maintain. Why not make the playground a showcase? The best of 2020!  After all, an upgrade to a popular playground after 16 years of continuous use, is not unreasonable. 

Beautifying our city - good news!

In the August issue there was discussion about street trees and how Russell St between Collins and Flinders streets had lost its centre strip trees many years ago. Not anymore! As you walk around our streets, you’ll notice that the City of Melbourne has replenished our urban forest. Mature, healthy new trees have been planted. Now it is up to us, as city residents to keep an eye out for these newbies.  

If it is a Sunday and it has been hot and dry for several days, give our new trees some love. Do not be afraid to bring out your watering can and give them a drink.  We need to care for our “forest” as the trees provide us with welcome shade, oxygen as they absorb unwanted carbon dioxide and they help the city’s micro climate to be cooler in the summer.

Come to Forum 3000 …

The next Residents 3000 event is on Thursday, November 7 at the Kelvin Club at 6pm. Members and guests are welcome. Details of the events are posted on our web site and members and subscribers receive an email a week before the event. The committee has a surprise for you in November!

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