Battle lines drawn as community gets behind grandmother's petition to save play equipment at an Alexandra Hills park

A REDLANDS grandmother has labelled council's decision to remove play equipment from a popular Alexandra Hills park as criminal and fears the new design could attract the wrong crowd.

WORK BEGINS: Candi Kelly with grandchildren Chase and Harper Kelly at the construction site in Bellini Court park, Alexandra Hills. Photo: Jordan Crick

WORK BEGINS: Candi Kelly with grandchildren Chase and Harper Kelly at the construction site in Bellini Court park, Alexandra Hills. Photo: Jordan Crick

Candi Kelly, who often takes her two grandchildren to Bellini Court park, has started a petition calling for a playground to be reinstalled after it was removed last month to make way for nature-based play equipment.

Things like boulders and logs are to be placed at the park but Ms Kelly has urged council to scrap the plan, arguing it was a cost-cutting measure and would take away a gathering place for local kids.

"It has been a source of joy and pleasure for them," she said.

"It is like a little community hub, where children meet other neighbourhood children and play.

"The grandparents can sit and relax and have a chat and let the children develop their motor skills and their social skills."

Ms Kelly said the community had not been consulted about the changes.

But a council spokesman said the consultation process had taken place during the development of a city-wide open space strategy, which received council approval in 2012.

He said it was deemed necessary to remove the play equipment due to its condition and nature-based alternatives were the preferred option.

The design was completed during the last financial year for consideration in this year's budget.

PLAYGROUND BATTLE: Candi Kelly has started a petition in a bid to get council to reinstall play equipment at Bellini Court park, Alexandra Hills. Photo: Jordan Crick

PLAYGROUND BATTLE: Candi Kelly has started a petition in a bid to get council to reinstall play equipment at Bellini Court park, Alexandra Hills. Photo: Jordan Crick

Cr Rowanne McKenzie said she had asked for an urgent briefing from council officers after being informed about work at the park.

"Given this decision was made prior to my becoming a local councillor, I have been working with council officers to ensure the community is aware of what works are being undertaken before they commence," she said.

Ms Kelly said she had also feared the park would become a hot-spot for anti-social behaviour.

"Those parks are already areas where people can gather, drink alcohol and take drugs," she said.

"The last thing it needs to be is relegated to another quiet area away from people and traffic, particularly so close to many young families."

A council spokesman said there was no evidence that changes to the park would leave it vulnerable to illegal activity.

"Council adopts crime prevention through environmental design principles when designing all park upgrades, renewals, removals and repurposing," he said.

"This neighbourhood park is designed to provide access to natural areas in the locality and further supports pedestrian connectivity within the broader open space network."

At the time of writing, Ms Kelly's petition had received 145 signatures.

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