Alliance Party candidates for Antrim Borough Council, Pete Whitcroft and Alison McCartney are highlighting children’s safety within council maintained play areas as part of their manifesto for the Council elections.
Most urgent within the Alliance’s objectives is the erection of a low-level safety fence and access gates to enclose the play area within Wallace Park in Templepatrick. The two Alliance candidates believe the proximity of the play area and car park would justify such a move.
Alison McCartney said: “At peak times, especially after Templepatrick Primary School finishes for the day, Wallace Park is extremely busy with parents, children and toddlers arriving into the park at a time when the Lylehill Road is extremely busy.
“Many parents have difficulty keeping their children confined to the play area and they end up coming dangerously close to cars coming in an out of the carpark2.
“This park urgently needs a low level safety fence with access gates in and out of the play area so that our youngest children can have the opportunity to use this council facility in complete safety”.
Pete Whitcroft added: “As a parent of three children under the age of five, I use this park regularly but have grave reservations about its open plan nature”.
“Of course parents must be responsible for the control and safety of their children, but it is very difficult to refuse your children a visit to their favourite park even when you can clearly see that a key safety measure within the park is sadly lacking”.
“As any parent knows it can take only a few seconds of distraction to lead to a serious accident and in this case our children are being exposed to the risk of busy traffic both within the Council car park and on the nearby Lylehill Road”.
“Given that the most suitable slide and play equipment for toddlers is positioned within a few metres of the car park I feel that an enclosing fence within the park should be constructed immediately”.
“Plenty of other councils in Northern Ireland have fenced in play areas and the children throughout Antrim Borough deserve the same level of protection in all our parks”.
Alliance representatives throughout the Borough of Antrim will be circulating a petition not only for immediate action in Templepatrick but for the general improvement of safety within Council play facilities in the following ways.
All parks in the Borough proposed in Parkgate, Randalstown, Toome and the park to be upgraded in Crumlin should have low level safety fencing and gates around the children’s play area.
All council play areas should be supplied with a first aid box.
All parks should have clear signs that provide information enabling park users to contact the council about any damaged or unsafe equipment in the play area, the sustainability of equipment for different ages of children and details of how to contact the council regarding suggested improvements of the facilities.
A By-law should be passed prohibiting dogs from entering the “fenced off” area around the slides/swings etc. within council parks in order to increase child safety, whilst allowing dogs access to all other areas of the park.
Alliance believes that the council must establish a weekly checklist for all parks in the Borough so that a trained member of staff can check that the park remains safe and umdamaged for continued use by the children of the Borough.