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Public Forum - Corrigans reserve playground & sandpit

During Public Forum at last Tuesday's (Feb 28th, 2017) meeting the following address was made by resident Trish Hellier in regards to the Corrigans Reserve Playground. Good Morning Mayor Innes, Councillors, General Manager, Staff, Gallery, those comfortable live streaming from home and my Mum watching over me from above.

My name is Patricia Hellier from North Batemans Bay and I would like to address Council on ITEM No.FBD17 /006 – Risk Management Policies.

I note that it states that these Policies were put on exhibition and there were no submissions received, some might form the view that the community agree with these policies and that is the reason that there were no submissions received, many are aware that I have been known on occasions to “put the elephant in the room”. My elephant today is I believe the reason that no submissions have been received is because frankly, many rate payers of this shire have just given up putting submissions into council and more recently time and time again I have been told “what is the point, I am only wasting my time, we just don’t get listen to and Council will do what council wants”.

Today I want to focus on Part 2 of these Policies, Parks, Playgrounds and Recreation areas, and we are all aware of Council’s “Duty of Care” and I congratulate Mayor Innes in relation to her motion put forward at the last Council meeting on the release of Balloons at Council owned land and damage that can be done to birds and sea life etc.

Councillor’s I am formally drawing to your attention my concerns and these concerns are for the children using the newly established Corrigan Playground area. You would already be aware of my concerns through emails in relation to the sand pit that has been placed in this park. I have been told that the designer of the park was of the view that Corrigan’s was not in a “built up residential area” therefore there should not be a problem with animals i.e. – cat and dogs using the sand pit as a toilet facility. We all know children love sand pits, and I have been told that if childcare centres, pre schools, and day care Mum’s who have sandpits are required to cover these sand pits at night and rake them regularly throughout the day, I have to ask will this apply to the sand pit at Corrigan’s? Two weeks ago I received a phone call from a resident concerned about the litter in the sand pit, I drove out to Corrigan’s and found beer bottle tops, plastic bottles, squashed metal cans on the surface of the sand, you may ask “what therefore is lurking underneath the sand”? I reported this issue to Council Officer Wayne Hutton.

Wet sand is known to breed bacteria, and is a haven for mosquitoes and a number of sandpits in parks in Sydney have been removed.

I am also concerned in relation to unsavoury behaviour within this area at night and it is known that drug users frequent the area. It is recorded that a 3 year old child in Sydney while playing in a sandpit was stabbed by a needle stick and is now HIV positive, I therefore ask this Council now that fencing has been erected around the park and security officers lock the public toilets at night, I ask that the park also get locked at night and when security opens the toilets in the morning they then unlock the gate to the park. Unfortunately this will not stop the cats from getting into the park, but it may stop other unwanted intruders in the park area.

I have concerns in relation to a piece of equipment that has been placed in the park, there is a slight gap between the equipment and the concrete , a small child could easily put their fingers or toes in this gap and get caught. I have been told that in Sydney equipment similar to this has been removed from parks for this reason. This piece of equipment has a round shelf at the top and last weekend I witness a child climb onto the top and stand up, while a number of other children pushed the equipment around gathering speed, I watched as the child gradually started to fall, and I found myself calling out to the children pushing the equipment to “stop”. You are probably thinking like I was where were the parents?

Some of you may have read a letter to the Editor online Beagle where there was a further complaint about equipment placed near the car parking area, a child threw a ball, then ran out onto the road to get the ball as a car entered the car park, hopefully this will not happen now that the fencing has been erected.


Point b) identify hazards through formal inspection of parks and reserves facilities – I am now asking you the Councillors that these issues I have raised are taken seriously and the risks in Corrigan’s Park be identified and re accessed and appropriate action taken .

Thank you

Trish Hellier

28th February 2017. In response to Ms Hellier's address Director of Infrastructure Warren Sharpe made the following comments during the item - Policy Review - Risk Management Policy . "Corrigans has been a great success.... Council does not intend to cover the sandpit... We have made an exception to place a sandpit at this facility for special needs children and will continue to monitor the sand pit". "The play equipment we have at the facility are all to Australian Standards and our Risk Policy addresses the defect and inspection regime" Mr Sharpe also added to this comment today, saying Corrigans playground is a fantastic asset for residents and visitors. "We're incredibly grateful to The Bay Push and our local members of parliament. With their support, we're very proud to have created an amazing playground that everyone in our community can enjoy."

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