Toddlers in a tangle at Summerhayes Park

A Yellow Rock mum is unhappy new play equipment at Summerhayes Park in Winmalee is now unsuitable for her 19-month-old daughter. 

Jackie Bennett from Yellow Rock, pictured with  daughter Olivia (19 months), would like to see pre-schooler play equipment returned to Summerhayes.

Jackie Bennett from Yellow Rock, pictured with daughter Olivia (19 months), would like to see pre-schooler play equipment returned to Summerhayes.

Blue Mountains Council recently upgraded the play equipment, replacing a bridge, small slide and monkey bars, which were suitable for children under four, with a large spider net. The structure is great for climbing, but is too advanced for young children.

Jackie Bennett and her daughter Olivia would play at the park at least three times a week, and would meet-up with friends who also had toddlers. “I’d like to see something put back for kids under three or four,” Mrs Bennett said. “A little slide or a bridge, or a tunnel like at Buttenshaw Park.”

The Bennetts now travel to Springwood to use play equipment at Buttenshaw Park and Batman Park, as her closest option — play equipment at a park on Illingworth Rd at Yellow Rock — was unusable.

Mrs Bennett said this park’s equipment was old, dirty and riddled with spiders and fallen branches from the numerous bushy trees overhead. 

She’d like to see it maintained and contacted council a month ago, which was met with a response that her email would be forwarded to the relevant department.

A council spokesperson said the equipment at Summerhayes Park was replaced because it was old and failing.

“Some of the existing play equipment at Summerhayes was considered unsuitable for children under four and did not appeal to children over 12 ... the Winmalee area has the highest proportion of the teenage age range in the local government area,” she said.

“The rope structure is attractive to a broader age range than the previous equipment, and particularly suitable for the adolescent age range.  The swings and slides were retained in the park which do get used by young children under four.”

The spokeswoman said  the nearest alternative play area suitable for younger children was behind nearby Winmalee Hall.

Ward three councillor Brendan Luchetti said there was also another park at Winmalee, which he frequented with his 14-month old, which had play equipment for under fours.

“Located between Bulbi and Bundah Avenues, Winmalee — less than 2km from Summerhayes Park — it has some great equipment for the little ones that enables them to climb, crawl and slide over it, plus another toddler-sized swing,” he said.

Council is currently reviewing recreational spaces, with details to be tabled in coming months.

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