Ethan Raymond (12) visited the ship-shaped wooden playground on Beachhaven Parade with friends last month and ended up needing surgery to remove a splinter from his chest.
‘Me and my mates were just here to hang around,’ he said.
‘One of my friends was sliding down that pole just fine so I thought I would give it a shot. Then a splinter came up.’
Ethan said he sat down and took the splinter out of his chest without realising the end had broken off and left a small lump in his chest.
His mother Vicki said he had to undergo surgery on July 25 to remove the 18mm fragment and she was concerned about safety because the pole was splintering all the way around.
She contacted the City of Wanneroo, which said the Capricorn Yanchep estate developer maintained the playground. Project director Jarrod Rendell said the City notified the developer on July 24, but there had been no other reports or complaints about splinters at the playground.
‘We are not aware of splinters being a common issue ” in the nine-year history of the project, this is the first known incident involving an injury from splintering of timber play equipment,’ he said.
Mr Rendell said they had since assessed the playground and discussed options with the landscape architect and the City, including removing the pole or replacing it with a galvanised post.
‘City officers advised they would prefer the two main timber posts be treated with a clear resin coating to prevent further splintering,’ he said.
Mr Rendell said remediation works started last Thursday.
City infrastructure director Dennis Blair said developers maintained parks and facilities for two years after installation, in keeping with the WA Planning Commission’s conditions of subdivision.
‘The developer is tasked with keeping the equipment in good condition and conducting annual play audits to ensure that safety standards are being adhered to,’ he said.
‘Wooden playgrounds are still installed in the City as their longevity is comparable to plastic units, which also weather and require ongoing maintenance.’
Mr Blair said the pole that caused the injury was an ornamental ship mast and not a piece of play equipment.