Passive protest halts Grassy Head playground upgrade

Kempsey Shire Council signage announces the upgrade.

IN March 2024 residents of Grassy Head and surrounds were affronted by a lack of consultation from Kempsey Shire Council (KSC) over an upgrade to a local playground.

A beach side area of temporary fencing was erected around native grasses and herbs, and preliminary earthworks began for the impending construction and installation of an assortment of colourful plastic play equipment, swings and an electric BBQ/shelter area.

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Subsequent to the halted construction, which had been intended to commence in early April, KSC representatives Arron Johnston and Dylan Reeves arranged an on-site meeting on Thursday 18 April with the collective ‘Friends of Grassy Head Beach Nature Reserve’, a group of approximately 20 individuals.

“Grassy Head Reserve is in need of attention but on a smaller scale than proposed on the site fencing signage,” a spokesperson for the group said.

“The reserve has limited infrastructure, and any changes need to fit with the natural setting, designed to be in keeping with the values of the reserve, which is unique, and becoming a rare, natural park where native bushland meets the sea.”

Group members believe the new site for the playground is unsuitable, and argue the play tower is inappropriate for this reserve due to fears of microplastics entering the environment.

Kempsey Shire Council’s Dylan Reeves stated that compliance issues mean replacement is necessary for safety reasons, at which the community consensus echoed, “We would be happy to replace like for like”, with ‘improvements’ to be in keeping with the natural environment and aesthetics.

KSC confirmed that all concerns will be considered in the amended plan of works.


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