Your chance to have a say on the Play Space Strategy

johnboy 20 February 2009 27

Many of us like to complain about the terrible impact risk aversion has had on children’s play grounds over the last 20 years.

TAMS has now released the “Draft Accessible Inclusive Playgrounds in the ACT – Play Space Strategy”. Which is your chance to actually have some input into the process.

For those who’d like to see some more challenging equipment available around the place this bit is a worry:

    An essential element in the provision of public play spaces is that play is accessible and inclusive to children and carers of all abilities.

Which, while a noble sentiment, seems like a rationale for stripping out all the fun entirely.

On the bright side they haven’t managed to outlaw trees yet.

Comments close on 13 March 2009 and can be forwarded by email to or by mail to

    Fay Hug
    Parks, Conservation and Lands
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27 Responses to Your chance to have a say on the Play Space Strategy
emd emd 12:53 pm 21 Feb 09

I agree with Granny on this one. It would not be hard to add something accessible like a swing or slide when public park equipment is being upgraded. The park at Chifley shops was upgraded last year, and there’s a climbing wall for the risk-taking regular kids – so I don’t think the ACT Govt are totally risk-averse. I think they’re just looking for community input as to what ALL kids (even the ones with disabilities) might like to see in their park.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 10:48 am 21 Feb 09

Granny, I’d have to say that I’m definately on the right of most debates and I agree with you. It’s all about taking personal responsibility and understanding that sometimes – just by living life – you’re going to get hurt.

If the government is going to offer a public good – in this case play equipment – it must truely be public and accessible by all.

Granny Granny 10:40 am 21 Feb 09

I agree that the namby pamby equipment the kids get stuck with today sucks; which is certainly not the fault of the disabled, as the ones that can use it would be just as bored and the others still can’t use it anyway.

I believe that allowing your child to play on public equipment should be tantamount to signing a waiver, provided the equipment is well-maintained. But if your kid gets hurt on a swing, suck it up, unless the thing breaks somehow. Don’t take away the swing just because kids can get hurt.

All of that should have very little to do with making a park inclusive however. That just means that when kids with a disability go out there is something for them to play on too.

Imagine your whole childhood without ever being able to go on a swing or a slide. Then say, hey, we’re fine for that to happen to a kid who is also possibly frequently hospitalised for various conditions, who may not be able to eat or drink either, and may not even be long for this world.

People who can’t support equal access to public facilities as a human right should question how left they really are. This lack of compassion is something I usually encounter more often on the right side of the spectrum.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 9:41 am 21 Feb 09

Not having read any of the documents I can speak with the unencumbered authority of the uninformed on this matter.

From my limited experience of eight or so tears watching my own kids growing up I have observed that risk taking is an extremely important, and ongoing, part of childhood development. Kids need places where they will be physically and mentally challenged – where they can stretch themselves, experience failure and its outcomes and develop strategies that overcome those obstacles. Many kids these days have a hard enough time coping with ‘helicopter parenting’ (where their overly protective parents constantly hover over them to make sure that nothing goes wrong). They don’t need governments to wrap their world in cotton wool for them as well.

As far as disabled kids go, I can’t see that being confined to a wheelchair or having to use crutches would in any way diminish the inherent desire for risk taking.

Granny Granny 10:28 pm 20 Feb 09

What Gobbo said.

I can’t believe this thread.

All playgrounds cater for the regular kids. At Black Mountain peninsula the one piece of equipment which caters for wheelchair bound children is locked. You find out after you get there that you can go through a whole lot of bureaucracy to get a special key. Most playgrounds have nothing.

As much as disabled kids love sitting there watching the rest of the world have a good time, what is so wrong with allowing them to be included?

More adventurous equipment and inclusive equipment are not mutually exclusive, any more than saying you can’t have a swing in a park if you have a slippery dip. Ridiculous!

As far as shipping them off to their own little playgrounds, it might surprise some to learn that most have siblings with regular needs, and that perhaps carers might like to be able to go out as a family. Not to mention further marginalising these children and excluding them from their community.

So disappointed.

TAD TAD 9:44 pm 20 Feb 09

Don’t let common sense get in the way of the plans.

I’m particularly a fan of the wheelchair accessible slippery dip at the Cotter. What’s the disabled kiddy supposed to do when he gets to the slide FFS?

Gobbo Gobbo 5:50 pm 20 Feb 09

It’s about time there were more accessible playspaces for disabled children and their carers.

proofpositive proofpositive 4:46 pm 20 Feb 09

Fiona said :

The second document discusses high schooler’s needs in parks

The whole study is aimed at the disabled. It is not addressing teen needs

Fiona Fiona 3:27 pm 20 Feb 09

proofpositive said :

so where are the facilities for teens?
the report is only catering for handicapped.

The second document discusses high schooler’s needs in parks

It all looks very nice 🙂

Fiona Fiona 2:54 pm 20 Feb 09

and many of the runners I’m thinking of love a good climb or flying fox, and have a general disregard for their own personal safety. So they won’t want to be stock ona ‘boring’ playgroup either, and can’t spend every playtime at kids rampage.

Fiona Fiona 2:50 pm 20 Feb 09

The swings are great fun for the kids (mental block as to what they’re aclled) Malkara recently got one ad I think Black Mountain school has one too. Great to hear there’s one out at Kambah.

As far as inclusive, perhaps a little more fencing on some might help, many kids with special needs are runners and I’m sure their mums and dads or respite workers woudn’t mind taking them and the siblings to a park wheer to other kids couldat least play without losing johnnie out onto the road?

peterh peterh 2:25 pm 20 Feb 09

Pommy bastard said :

It would seem that some have forgotten that one of the key elements, and benefits, of play is risk.

no. that is why, my kids have a real cubby house. in a tree, not made of plastic…

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 2:09 pm 20 Feb 09

It would seem that some have forgotten that one of the key elements, and benefits, of play is risk.

fnaah fnaah 1:57 pm 20 Feb 09

Peterh, i take my dog off leash there sometimes, but only when there’s nobody around, so you won’t have to worry about him mindlessly slobbering on you or your little’uns. 🙂

Kambah used to have flying foxes.

captainwhorebags captainwhorebags 1:47 pm 20 Feb 09

Bring back the flying foxes that were at the playgrounds of my youth (Kambah Park and Fadden Pines!). Let natural selection do it’s thing.

AG Canberra AG Canberra 1:42 pm 20 Feb 09

OK – having had a look at the document – it seems like government crap.

Why don’t the TAMS people commit to build 3 or 4 parks specifically for those who need special facilities. These can be fenced and opened by rangers each day. Their design would be advised on by the carers – not some expensive consultant from Melbourne. (I reckon the carers know a bit about accessibility and what floats their kids boats)

Then we can make sure the rest of the playgrounds in Canberra cater the the 95% of kids that don’t have the special requirements.

Problem solved.

AG Canberra AG Canberra 1:33 pm 20 Feb 09

So the playgrounds have to be “accessible” and “inclusive”….but no mention of fun, or thrilling or a little bit scary or resistant to vandalism.

peterh peterh 1:20 pm 20 Feb 09

tylersmayhem said :

My old game as a youngster: a small jerry can of BP Zoom, a couple of tennis balls, box of redheads and a mate. Instant adrenaline football…and several singed hairs.

much better when you play it with tennis raquest behind the charnwood top shop, back when it was a dirt field….

tylersmayhem tylersmayhem 1:01 pm 20 Feb 09

My old game as a youngster: a small jerry can of BP Zoom, a couple of tennis balls, box of redheads and a mate. Instant adrenaline football…and several singed hairs.

peterh peterh 12:16 pm 20 Feb 09

fnaah said :

Perhaps a half-pipe with wheelchair access?

I was surprised to see a wheelchair-access swing at Kambah “adventure” park the other day. (It’s really not that adventurous anymore.) How long has it been there?

Anyone know if it gets used?

it does. I saw a family using it with their wheelchair bound child last week. the shame of kambah adventure playground isn’t the facilities, they are pretty good, it is the people who come to the park with their dogs off the leash. Last thing i want is one of my kids attacked by a “playful” dog….

playspaces need to cater for all ages, I enjoy the flying foxes in warrnambool – they are graded for adults and kids alike.

that is what the playspaces need to be here. not designed just for kids, but able to support adults as well.

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