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Mums have their Say - Redfern mothers: our kids aren't safe in playgrounds

A GROUP of Redfern Mothers is calling for enclosed playgrounds to be built in the suburb by Sydney Council, saying there is a shortage of secure places for children to play in Redfern reports Robert Burton-Bradley in Central of 7 May 2008.

The mothers say all the surrounding suburbs have parks where play equipment is fully enclosed, making them far safer than Redfern playgrounds at Redfern Park, Eveleigh Street, Elizabeth McCrae Park, Douglas Street and Chelsea Street.

The complaints follow Central's recent revelations of the poor state of Redfern's playgrounds, with broken swings and sharp, rusty edges removed following the story.

Frustrated mum Nicola Cunningham told Central that having enclosed parks made the difference between a peaceful day of play and a stressful experience, constantly keeping children out of harm's way.

Ms Cunningham said in the city with dogs, busy roads and other hazards, knowing her one-year-old son Riley wouldn't stray beyond an enclosed space was a necessity.

"There are many enclosed playgrounds in the Sydney Council area, but none are in Redfern apart from one in the East Redfern area," Ms Cunningham said.

"It's not as though I don't watch my child, or want to just leave him unattended but I think enclosed parks are a must for small children." Fellow Redfern mum Tracy James said parks near her home, such as Reconciliation Park on George Street, should be enclosed.

"The park across the road in George Street is called Reconciliation Park and there's no fencing around it," she said.

"There's a sheer drop down a rock wall in the park and I can't leave my son Darcy alone, I have to follow him around the whole time." A spokesperson for Sydney Council said there were two enclosed parks in Redfern one at Hansom Cab Place in Young Lane and Elizabeth McCrae Playground in Zamia St. "Including the new playground and water play feature currently being built at Redfern Park, there are a further seven playgrounds within 500m of Redfern Park and two are fenced," said Council Parks manager Joel Johnson. "Surry Hills has eight playgrounds for residents, four of which are fenced.

"Unless required for safety, fencing is limited as it can instil a false sense of security, used to enclose children in lieu of supervision.

"Fences also cause access issues for some disabled groups."

Picture: Phil Rogers - Open playgrounds in Redfern concern local mothers (from left) Jo Clarke and Leo, Nicola Cunningham and Riley, Jill and Archer, Tracey James and Darcy.

Source: Central 7 May 2008