A better playground for Kings Cross

On Monday night, Council endorsed improvements to a playground in Fitzroy Gardens, Kings Cross.

More and more people are choosing to raise families in the City. Between 2001 and 2011 family households in the City of Sydney increased by 44.5 per cent. Anecdotally this demographic shift is even more pronounced in the communities of Potts Point and Kings Cross.

Hundreds of local parents and children came to Council's Environment Committee to ask for improvements to Fitzroy Garden's current playground which was described as 'small', 'unwelcoming' and 'tired'.

Since 2007 the City has carried out extensive and ongoing consultation with the local community on the use of Fitzroy Gardens. We know people use the Gardens in many different ways - to walk pets, relax and chat with neighbours. People also enjoy taking their children and grandchildren to the playground.

In 2011, council unanimously supported my proposal to carry out maintenance in Fitzroy Gardens. We have already replanted garden beds and renewed the grass. We are now installing new benches and bins, upgrading the lighting and repairing the existing paving. The wonderful El Alamein Fountain has been painstakingly restored to its original, glorious condition.

Now it is time to improve the inadequate and shabby playground.

In August, we publicly exhibited plans for these improvements and received more than 300 submissions. The overwhelming majority of submissions did not oppose the playground but did raise concerns about the size, the possible noise of some play equipment and the impact on Fitzroy Gardens.

In response to these comments, the playground was reduced to nearly half the size and some play equipment was removed. The proposed playground will occupy just six per cent of Fitzroy Gardens.

There has been a playground in Fitzroy Gardens since it was created as park in 1939. The new playground adopts the gardens' distinctive hexagonal layout and also reinstates a hexagonal planter on the upper terrace.

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