No shade in Hume playgrounds

by Michaela Meade

A Hume councillor has called out the lack of shaded playgrounds in the municipality.

The Melbourne Playgrounds group completed an analysis of 4000 playgrounds across Melbourne, and found that Hume had the lowest percentage of shaded playgrounds, with 0 per cent.

Neighbouring municipality Whittlesea did not fare better, with the group finding 1 per cent of playgrounds in the area shaded.

According to the group, Glen Eira council had the highest percentage of shaded playgrounds, at 50 per cent.

Cr Naim Kurt said it was disappointing to see Hume rated last.

He said the community should not have to be uncomfortable on hot slides when using playgrounds.

“I continue to receive feedback that many of Hume’s playgrounds are simply inaccessible to families during the summer months, because of limited shade being available,” Cr Kurt said.

“Many families tell me they are travelling to other parts of Melbourne to access better shaded areas.

“Previously council has not used shade sails at playgrounds due to cost and maintenance issues.

“With hotter summer months and skin cancer risks, I believe council needs to re-assess this position.”

Hume council planning and development director Michael Sharp said the municipality’s play spaces were designed with the inclusion of shade both in the structure of the playground and from established trees.

He said the council also plants new trees as required to provide additional natural shade.

“Shade sails are not used in open spaces due to the high cost of maintenance and safety issues associated with inappropriate use,” Mr Sharp said.

“Council is developing its draft Open Space Strategy 2021-2031, which is scheduled for reporting to council in early 2022.

“The strategy will look at modern shade options that are more robust and low maintenance than sails.”