New play park is a hazard, says civic

New Horizon residents have complained about what they say is shoddy workmanship at a new play park.

A children’s play park in New Horizon is “flimsy“ and unsafe and should be rebuilt, says a civic group.

However, the City says the play equipment was vandalised less than a week after it was installed.

Poor workmanship is to blame for the park’s broken swings, says Laylah Ryklief, the chairwoman of the New Horizon Civic Association.

“A 9-year-old girl was hit by a metal object sticking out from a swing. The swings are also built skew and the poles are not rooted firmly in the ground, and we are afraid it may collapse on the children. We had to make the swings inactive to prevent more accidents.

“The see-saw’s pivot is very loose and not stable enough to play on.”

The park should also be enclosed to keep children safe, said Ms Ryklief.

The see-saw has a loose pivot and it is not safe for kids to play on, says the New Horizon Civic Association.

The City contractor that had built the park was building recreational facilities eight years after the first beneficiaries had moved into New Horizon’s state-subsidised houses, in 2013, she said.

Residents had not been adequately consulted about the recreational facilities – including parks, a running track, multi-purpose courts, an outdoor gym and a dog park – and some were unsuitable for the area, she said.

The proposed dog park was unwelcome, she said, because it would be used by gang members in the area who were known to walk around with vicious dogs and entice other dogs to fight.

She said Expanded Public Works Programme workers should be employed to monitor and protect the children’s park.

The City should consult with the civic in future to prevent further problems, she said.

The civic says the swings aren’t being used after a girl was hit by a metal object sticking out from one of them.

Malusi Booi, mayoral committee member for human settlements, said City officials and the developer had found “malicious damage” at the play park on Thursday September 16.

“The swing was cut; chains and bolts have been removed from the jungle gym.

“After the inspection, it was agreed that the equipment is not substandard and that there has, in fact, been malicious damage which has taken place to the play equipment less than a week after installation.”

The same play equipment had been used across the city and could not be deemed substandard, he said.

Site safety was of “utmost importance” and had been discussed with the community, and more discussions were welcome, he said.

The City says “malicious damage” has been done to the New Horizon children’s play park.

Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for community services and health said no work had started on the dog park.

“Through a public participation process regarding the dog park, it is clear that a dog park is a contentious issue as some residents are for and others are against a dog park. The public participation process will thus continue, as it requires further discussion with residents to determine whether a dog park will be included in the final planning.”