Debate over park pond
A PETITION has attracted more than 700 supporters in its attempt to lobby the Central Highlands council against the possibility of building a fence around Windmill Park pond in Emerald's Botanic Gardens.
Local resident and mother Lauren Flint who is part of a group of parents who set up the petition, said people were concerned that fencing the pond would set a precedent for fencing other bodies of water and would reduce the area's natural beauty and appeal.
"It's our favourite park and the kids love interacting with all the different sensory experiences that you can have,” she said.
Mrs Flint, whose children are aged two and four, said if children weren't exposed to some level of risk - with parental supervision - they would not learn how to develop their own abilities to evaluate risk factors in life.
"If somebody's concerned about there being a hazard, we discussed a sign to warn parents that there is water there,” she said.
"I fully believe that as a parent, you have to assess the risks wherever you are.
"We're happy for a sign, but a fence would be too much.”
Central Highlands Regional Council's General Manager Communities Daniel Fletcher said this week that council had recently investigated options for improving the beauty and safety aspects of the man-made pond at Windmill Park.
"Public safety and access considerations form a key element of council's park management functions and processes,” Mr Fletcher said.
"We have a duty of care to act responsibly to avoid any reasonably foreseeable injury to persons in these public spaces - a duty we take very seriously.”
Mr Fletcher said it had been observed that the ability of children using the gardens to appreciate the risk of the pond was limited; the pond was close to the children's play areas; and the visibility of the pond was limited because of aquatic plants and algae.
"As such, temporary fencing was installed to allow council staff to properly assess the area and identify potential works to increase safety and enhance the aesthetics of the pond,” he said.
The petition can be accessed at change.org by searching Windmill Park.