RESIDENTS are concerned that the removal of a Strathfieldsaye playground will leave neighbourhood children without a place to gather and play.
The City of Greater Bendigo sent residents a letter dated July 29, saying it would close and remove the ageing play equipment at 12-14 Sunset Drive.
A council representative said the removal of the Sunset Drive play areas was in-line with the city's strategy to consolidate playgrounds, as there was a larger, newly refurbished playground nearby.
Lilly Gleeson lives near the park with her family. When she received a letter last week, she went out to check the play equipment was still there.
Mrs Gleeson said there was no warning from council about the change.
She said the park on Sunset Drive was a meeting place for children in the area, as somewhere kids could go on their own.
The park provided a safe place for the neighborhood's children, suitable for younger families and away from roads or creeks, she said.
It was very well used with great equipment, Mrs Gleeson said.
"It's probably more suitable for younger children than the main one [Battunga Park], because it's slightly smaller," she said.
"Battunga Park is nice, but it also attracts a lot of older kids, so for families with younger primary school aged children, it's just not an option because it just gets quite busy."
Mrs Gleeson said her children, aged six and eight, were devastated to hear the news. Talking to other parents, she knows other children feel the same way.
"My daughter read it and was really upset, as were quite a few of the kids that are frequent visitors," Mrs Gleeson said.
"They've had little get-togethers with neighbourhood kids there. They've invited friends over specifically to go over to that park.
"It's very much part of their home having that park there, sort of an extension of home."
COGB Manager Parks and Open Spaces Paul Gangell said council acknowledged the letter sent out to the community should have been better worded to encourage community feedback.
Mr Gangell said the Sunset Drive playground was slated to be removed as part of the city's efforts to consolidate playgrounds, in line with its Public Space Strategy.
Council also planned to remove a playground on Hakea Street, Kennington.
The play equipment was nearing the end of its life in both cases and would cost money to replace, Mr Gangell said.
Removing the playground would allow council to focus on play spaces where there were gaps, to make sure there was a more equitable spread of play facilities across the city.
Council had identified 30 new sites for playgrounds right across Bendigo, Mr Gangell said.
The playground on Sunset Drive was close to a newer, better playground at Battunga Park, he said.
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