Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do "Parents" still exist?

I really asked myself this question after reading the following news article, from the Hobsons Bay Leader:

Security guards watch over Point Cook playground

A SLIDE at a Wyndham housing estate playground is being watched by security around the clock after it was deemed too dangerous for small children.

Urban developer Villawood Properties said it had paid security to guard the slide at Alamanda Estate Point Cook day and night for the past three months to make sure children below 1.28m tall did not use it. This was because three children under the height were seriously injured on the slide at Bayview Park in October last year, a month after it was installed with approval from Wyndham Council.

The Leader this month saw many children using the slide, including those under the specified height, in the presence of security, believed to be costing the developer thousands of dollars.

A guard watches the slide from a car at night.

The council, which owns the playground and will one day take over its management, was not aware last week that the slide was still open. Wyndham Council chief executive Peter Marshall said the developer had closed the playground on the council’s recommendation last September after concerns were raised about equipment there.

Mr Marshall said three children who “persisted in using the equipment after the closure” injured themselves on it and the developer subsequently hired security to restrict access to it.

Villawood said in a statement that its extended slide, built to Australian standards and based on one in Paris, encouraged outdoor activity among children and teenagers.

Security would remain there indefinitely to ensure it was used safety "Villawood immediately employed 24-hour security upon learning of an incident that occurred at the site in 2008 and, at the same time, closed the use of the slide until appropriate signage could be installed,” the statement said.

“Signage was installed quickly and Villawood made the executive decision to retain security as a further back-up to ensure all visitors to the park are aware of the height constraints.”

It did not respond to questions about how much the security was costing.

The developer said it could not detail the children’s injuries, saying it heard of them from other sources, but that there had been no reported injuries since.

“We believe the injuries may have occurred on the first bend where small children may have tried to slow down,” it said.

A pool security gate at the slide entrance that cannot be opened by children under 1.28m and rubber coating to slow users down have been installed.

There is a shorter slide adjacent to the extended one for small children.

Villawood was not aware that children under 1.28m had been using the slide.

The council said it would ask the developer to modify certain equipment before it took over operation and maintenance of the playground.

Mr Marshall said the council approved the slide because it complied with Australian standards but that these standards did not specify slide lengths and gradient ratios.

Mr Marshall said that he was not aware of security being at any other Wyndham playground.

The original article has a photo of the signs, which are VERY NOTICEABLE. Makes me a bit concerned about the type of society where a 24hr security guard is required to ensure that people abide by signs put up for their (and their children's) safety!


Old NFO said... I don't even know where to start Julie... IF it's so dangerous, why not just TAKE THE DAMN THING OUT!!!! sigh...

Julie said...

ah Jim, but then the big kids will get upset that there's nothing for them to play on ..

NotClauswitz said...

To properly secure the safety of the children they must cut the legs off the slide and lay it flat on the ground...but what would you call it then?

Julie said...

hehehe DirtCrashr, i'm sure someone will still find something to complain about!