Mawson Park play equipment will relocate but no shade sails

File pic of Mawson Park play area before the petition was presented to the Joondalup council.
File pic of Mawson Park play area before the petition was presented to the Joondalup council.

PLAY equipment at Mawson Park in Hillarys will be relocated but shade sails will not be installed.

Joondalup councillors at last week’s meeting supported the City officers’ recommendation not to install a “built shade structure” at Mawson Park in response to a 192-signature petition requesting sails over the larger of the two playground areas, which was presented to the council in May last year.

In November, the council requested the policy committee consider the adoption of a playground shade policy and advised a decision on the petition would not be made until the policy was considered.

Councillors voted in March to advertise the policy and approved a built shade structure program in the draft capital works program for shortlisted installations starting in 2020-21. These included Burns Beach, Delamere and Tom Simpson parks.

Mawson Park was not included because it did not meet all the criteria of the policy.

Criteria included high patronage of the playground, proximity to other amenities that encourage long stays such as barbecue and picnic facilities, sporting facilities and toilets, conditions where trees are difficult to establish or playgrounds that are too large to shade with trees.

During community consultation, concerns were raised, including playground equipment getting hot, trees not providing adequate protection from ultra-violet exposure and falling branches.

However, a council document said while there was some support for artificial shade, compared to the petition the overall response rate was “quite low”.

“Capital and ongoing maintenance costs for built shade structures are high and have the potential to be a large financial impact to the City (223 playgrounds within the City of Joondalup),” it said.

“A rationalised approach to the distribution of built shade to park playgrounds is imperative.”

It said the City maintained a preference for natural shade, which reduced exposure to ultra-violet rays and air temperature, contributed to health and wellbeing, maintained natural amenity of open spaces and provided a habitat for wildlife.

“Tree species that have a propensity to drop limbs are not approved for planting by the City,” it said.

At last month’s meeting, councillors voted 11 to one to adopt the policy.

Cr Mike Norman, who is up for re-election, said at last week’s meeting he was disappointed shade sails were not recommended at Mawson Park but he expected it given the council “endorsed by a good majority an artificial shade policy with criteria that disqualifies Mawson Park from getting artificial shade”.

A council document said the play equipment could be relocated to take advantage of existing shade trees and extra trees could be planted in and around the play area.

Infrastructure services director Nico Claassen said two of the proposed new trees had already been planted outside the play area and two more were proposed for inside the area.

He said they would be about 1.2m in diameter and between 4m and 8m high.

“These larger trees to be planted will significantly improve the shade even in the shorter term,” he said.

Cr Christine Hamilton-Prime said she was sad to see shade sails would not be installed at the park but she understood the City’s concern regarding installation and maintenance costs and the precedence it would cause.

Installing shade sails at Mawson Park could cost up to $120,000 while relocating the equipment and planting more trees would cost about $40,000.

Councillors voted to list $40,000 for consideration in the 2016-17 capital works program.