BATHURST risks becoming a "nanny state" if a new push to fence the adventure playground on Durham Street is allowed to gain further momentum, according to one councillor.
Councillor Alex Christian used last week's Bathurst Regional Council policy committee meeting to put the issue of fencing the popular playground back on the agenda.
He said he had been approached by parents who were concerned children could run from the playground onto busy Durham Street and told council he thought putting up a fence was a "no brainer".
"They (parents) do feel like they need a fence there, particularly when there's lots of people there and it's busy," Cr Christian told the meeting.
"I think most people would agree that keeping their eye on their child 24 hours a day, every second of the day, it's just not reality and it will take just one kid to run on to that road, on to Durham Street, and we all look like clowns."
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The issue has also lit up social media this week, with the Western Advocate Facebook page receiving more than 100 comments on the story.
Most were from parents of young children who supported the idea of a fence with just a few saying a fence wasn't needed.
But Cr Jess Jennings has this week come out strongly against the proposal, saying the past 10 years had proved there was no need for a fence at the playground.
Neither Cr Jennings nor Cr Christian was on council when the adventure playground was built in 2009, but Cr Jennings said the right decision had been made in not fencing the area.
"It's clear there was a big debate at the time and given there have been no incidents since it's clear that council made the right decision," Cr Jennings said.
"Alex Christian wants to make Bathurst into the nanny state capital of Australia.
"Parenting is a personal responsibility - it's not up to council to parent people's kids."
Cr Jennings said Cr Christian was "cheaply responding to a couple of Facebook posts" and that there was not a problem at the adventure playground.
"If you fence that [the adventure playground] and set a precedent for that , well you had better fence Machattie Park for a start, you had better fence Centennial Park, you better fence the entire Macquarie River off because kids might drown," he said.
"Where do you draw the line? You may as well fence every road around a childcare centre, it just gets ridiculous.
"The more people are encouraged not to take responsibility for their children, that's when you're going to get more accidents."
Cr Christian was contacted for comment.
What you had to say on Facebook
Some of your comments on the Western Advocate Facebook page:
- Bek M'Crystal: There should have been a fence when it was built. Have you ever been to orange adventure playground. It is fenced and 100 times better than this one. May even stop the junkies from walking through and dropping their needles everywhere.
- Ray Wilson: There is no need for a fence the park was designed so it could be an open plan the park. I remember council having this debate in the past.
- Taylor Boardman: Orange adventure playground has one entry and exit & is completely fenced round all other sides! This is what we need! It's not about being lazy parents, it's about pure safety near that busy road.
- Nic Booth: Yes! What a great idea. Especially with how busy Durham St is now days and that's right where the maze is, so it blocks a significant amount of line of sight to your children.
- Kelly Carter: Parks should be open and parents should be responsible for their kids and teach them about safety. Play with your kids in a beautiful playground. We shouldn't assume that a fence creates a safe environment. Kids are not dumb, if they want to get over it they will.
- Sharyn Cogdell: Yes. Of course! This should have been done initially as part of the original design, especially on the busy Durham St side, at the very least.