10-year-old North Coogee girl convinces Cockburn councillors to commit $250,000 for playground upgrades

Freya Jane Harris with Nicola Bagley.
Freya Jane Harris with Nicola Bagley.

A NORTH Coogee girl has won over Cockburn councillors and helped score her neighbourhood a $250,000 playground expansion with a professional deputation at the City’s 2017-18 budget meeting.

Backed by a 20-page submission from the South Beach Community Group (SBCG), Freya-Jane Harris called for an upgrade of Barrow Park to accommodate a growing community.

“Tonight I have an important job to do,” she said.

“I have to talk for all the kids on our estate. We, the children of South Beach, North Coogee, would really love a new play area because our estate is growing. There are so many children and the other play area is too small.

“I’m sure that if we had this meeting earlier (than the 7pm start) you could see for yourself how many kids would play here.”

The 10-year-old said the SBCG’s plan, which includes a naturescape playground and bike track for kids aged five to 12, would enable children “to explore, create and be safe”.

With North Coogee’s high density, SBCG vice-chairwoman Nicola Bagley told councillors the community was screaming out for the expansion.

“We propose to use this open space to create a community hub, a safe and central location in our area for our children to engage in essential outdoor play, for parents and grandparents to congregate, chat with neighbours and feel a part of our community,” she said.

City Mayor Logan Howlett said Freya-Jane’s comments reflected those offered during the SBCG’s community consultation process as it, together with North Fremantle environmental consultancy Ecoscape, developed the concept plan.

“Many children were asked about what they thought was needed to improve opportunities to have a nature-play area on their doorstep and how this could be integrated into the overall upgrade,” he said.

Cockburn governance and community services director Don Green said Freya-Jane was the youngest person he had seen give a deputation.

For more information, visit www.southbeachcommunity.com.

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