“One hot day last summer my granddaughter was in tears after trying to play on the slide. It was so hot it was burning her.”
Len Hobbs, our lead candidate for Blacktown, Ward 2.
The problem–burns are just not fun
Outdoor playtime is very important for children’s development, but extreme temperatures turn a playground into a baking sheet straight out of a hot oven.
Research carried out at our very own Western Sydney University has shown that common surfaces such as asphalt can reach extreme temperatures. If that bothers you, next think about what children play on. Soft-fall surface temperatures can reach 80°C on days when air temperatures are in the low 30s. Artificial turf can heat up to nearly 100°C and burn the soles of children’s soles. Playground equipment can reach 90°C even east of Parramatta, let alone out here.
We don’t bring children to the playground so they can get burns.
The solution–greener, shadier playgrounds
It’s a no-brainer–playgrounds need shade! Natural shade is ideal, and you can be sure that your Greens team will work for more green cover. Long-term, we can cool our parks and playgrounds by increasing the tree canopy and making greater use of water features such as ponds and fountains. Trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers create a richer play environment for children to explore. They also filter air pollution.
But where there is no natural shade, we need shade sails made of strong, ultra-violet blocking, top-quality shade cloth. Research has shown that, while unshaded bark mulch can heat up to 86°C, the shade from a sail can cut that surface temperature by up to about half.
True, when the temperature is in the 40s, shade sails won’t make an enormous difference to how kids feel playing under them. That’s why shade sails are only the beginning, not our whole BEAT THE HEAT plan.
What your Greens team will do
With Len elected to Council, your Greens team will fight for shade sails and drinking fountains at playgrounds right across across Ward 2. We will start with these three especially exposed playgrounds:
Alwyn Lindfield Reserve, Glenwood
Lady Penhryn Park, Kings Langley
Melody Gardens, Seven Hills
And after that, we’ll keep the pressure on until there’s no playground without its natural green cover and/or shade sails.