Playing for hope

RESIDENTS in Swan Hill’s Harrison Crescent have called on the Swan Hill Rural City Council to make good on their promises and upgrade Jaycee Park.

Council said the park saw regular maintenance and is currently in the process of community consultation to draw up plans for a revamp, but locals are concerned they have heard it all before.

Local kids voiced their concerns with the park, from rusted equipment to no water. Rebecca Kepa , Mateiah Toohey, Dyontae Toohey, Bianka Anderson, Linkin Anderson, Kaidyn Tants, Jakobie Salmon, Tayte Tants and Malyna Tants are regular users of the park. Picture: CAITLIN McARTHUR

Local kids voiced their concerns with the park, from rusted equipment to no water. Rebecca Kepa , Mateiah Toohey, Dyontae Toohey, Bianka Anderson, Linkin Anderson, Kaidyn Tants, Jakobie Salmon, Tayte Tants and Malyna Tants are regular users of the park. Picture: CAITLIN McARTHUR

Tarin Tants moved to the area with his five children in 2004 and said the park had only deteriorated during their time there.

“It doesn’t deserve a name. It was pretty bad when we moved in and it’s gone downhill since,” he said. 

Mr Tants said the basketball court saw a “fair bit of use, but that’s about it”.

“That’s all there is for them. The lack of shade, it’s brutal.There’s no facilities, no water taps, no toilets, no barbecue area,” he said.

Mr Tants said he had spoken to council “multiple times” about the state of the facility, but despite being told planning is underway, little to no work has been done to improve the area.

“At the end of last year when I spoke to council they said they were working on something, but nothing has come out of it. We’ve had barbecues here where council was asking people what they wanted to see happen, that was three or four years ago. Everyone put in their suggestions and they didn’t do anything about it,” he said.

“They promised a few things, the bike path was one. That was what my boys wanted, so they could ride their bikes around without getting bindis.”

Council’s acting economic and community development manager Fiona Gormann said community consultation in the form of surveys and door knocking was already taking place and would continue up to and after Christmas.

Following that, Ms Gormann said blueprints would be drawn up before work commenced.

"There is a plan to revamp the park with community input," she said, adding council has heard the requests for more shade, more trees and water.

"To do it well, and to do the consultation, takes time.

"We're doing this the same way we did George Lay Park, giving the community the chance to have ownership over the park and its development."

Deb Pyatt has lived in the neighbourhood with her children Linkin and Bianka since 2009.

She said the condition of the park usually kept her children away, and is keen to see something done to make the park more child-friendly.

"This is the first time they've been to the park in six years. There's usually broken glass everywhere and there's no shade. It was pretty bad when I moved in and it has not improved, at all," Ms Pyatt said.

To read more about this story, grab a copy of Monday's Guardian (November 6).

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