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 Post subject: Playground campaign
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:04 pm 
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Location: Tai Peng
http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/educ ... playground

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Lamma Island parents fight for vital playground upgrades

Community group says Yung Shue Wan playground lacks sufficient shade for children as hot summer months arrive
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 June, 2016, 8:01am

A group of parents living on ­Lamma Island are calling for ­urgent renovations to their ­children’s playground as summer begins in Hong Kong.

The parents say Yung Shue Wan playground, one of only three on the island, lacks an ­adequate shaded area, a drinking fountain, baby changing facilities and swings.

It is set to bask in intense ­sunshine this summer, which ­locals insist will leave their ­children at risk of sunburn and heatstroke.

The playground, which was refurbished in 2008, also has unrealistic age classifications for its two areas that children quickly outgrow, members of Parents of Lamma, Activities for the Young (PLAY) insist.

Group spokeswoman Emma Webb said: “There are so many people who come and use it. It is particularly busy around 8am and 4pm. It is a lovely community but the playground is lacking some TLC.

“There are so many kids on Lamma, more people are starting families here. The ­facilities are rubbish — we are just trying to make a difference. The beach is lovely but it is a long walk with toddlers and prams,” she said.

Group member Tzarina Booth, a full-time mother who lives in Tai Peng, added: “It does not encourage imaginative play — it looks colourful but it’s ­boring.”

A large pile of scrap building material sat on the edge of the playground for more than six months while environmental ­service officials allegedly ignored repeated requests to remove it.

Last month, members of PLAY became so frustrated by the lack of action that they ­organised their own clean-up ­operation.

Commenting on the initiative, which was sparked by the ­creation of a Facebook group, Webb said: “It was exciting to see it grow. I started the group on a Monday and by Saturday we had cleared away rubbish we had tried to get moved for six months”.

The group’s 150 members are now planning to arrange their own fundraising activities for the playground’s renovation, as well as enlisting the help of local artists and designers, as they said they did not believe the government will invest in the redevelopment.

Booth said: “What we have seen in terms of trying to affect change is that the politics here can be Byzantine — I don’t think it’s a funding issue because Hong Kong is clearly rich and the rest of our facilities are very good.”

The Hong Kong government said it provided play equipment which is suitable for all children, including those with disabilities, at 70 per cent of its playgrounds.

“The designs of the equipment are aimed at bringing happiness to children while helping them learn different skills for balanced development,” the Leisure and Cultural Services Department website said.

A Department spokesman said it had been “enhancing the playground’s play equipment within the limited space (200 square metres)”.

He said play panels and a buoy bouncer were added at the ­playground in 2014 and 2015 ­respectively to supplement the ­original equipment.

He said future redevelopment plans included the installation of a drinking fountain and the ­re-designing of the pergolas, ­adding; “LCSD will closely ­monitor the works progress.”

Commenting on the lack of shade, he went on to say that the department would “consider the provision of more canvas ­structures or canopies at play areas with sufficient space”.

He could not provide statistics on the number of Hong Kong’s playgrounds which currently have shade sails at the time this article went to print.

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I'd be pretty wary of asking for shade. Look at what they did to the fish market, made a ridiculous structure with no usable space under it. But as the playground is run by LCSD, there may be hope of keeping the District Council Concrete Association away from the design.

The beach in Yung Shue Wan could be cleaned up and used for recreation, especially as sewage is now being processed instead of run into the bay. But there isn't even any easy access to the waterside, and with YLF never relenting in her campaign to reclaim and concrete the bay, she's unlikely to permit any use or improvement, she tries to prevent any beach cleanups and has even called the cops on people who collected and piled piled up crap.


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