Cancer Council Victoria has welcomed a council’s plans to give more shade to Cooinda Park’s playground.
The group’s sun smart manager Heather Walker said the council’s plans to plant trees and install a shade structure was a positive step forward.
The City of Greater Bendigo planned to plant trees during the next planting season, while it was considering options for a “shade structure” during upcoming budgets.
Ms Walker’s comments came as a petition circulated online for more shade at the playground. Late Wednesday afternoon the petition had 582 supporters.
Ms Walker said the Cancer Council was advocating councils consider shade while developing public spaces.
“If you build it into your plans from the beginning then you obviously avoid situations where you have a brilliant facility but the people using it are at risk from ultraviolet damage,” she said.
Ms Walker said shade could reduce ultraviolet light exposure by up to 75 per cent.
She pointed to the success of recent Victorian government shade grants in demonstrating the demand for more shady places.
The Cancer Council said the apparent demand for the grants showed more government investment was needed.
Ms Walker said it was especially important considering councils often had to make difficult decisions about how to spend the money they had.
The grants had not escaped the attention of council, according to director of presentation and assets Craig Lloyd.
“The city always seeks external funding where it is available and has previously applied for funding for other projects as part of the community shade grants program,” he said.
“The city will consider any relevant external funding sources when looking at providing shade at Cooinda Park.”
In addition to work at Cooinda Park, the council planned to build a new $1.3 million play space in Eaglehawk, complete with 35 advanced trees and three shade structures.
It also planned to complete two play space rebuilds and one new construction.
“Each will include new advanced tree plantings as part of the works,” Mr Lloyd said.
In the meantime, Ms Walker had some advice for parents taking children to all parks, saying finding shady spots was just one piece of the puzzle.
“We would always recommend people use shade in combination with covering clothing, broad brimmed hats, sunglasses and sunscreen,” she said.