Don't fence the Botanical Gardens Windmill Park pond
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A complaint has been made recently about the safety of the pond at the Windmill Park, Botanical Gardens. A temporary fence has been erected and council is currently conducting a risk and safety assessment on the area.
The botanical gardens is home to many bodies of water, the windmill pond being only one. It is of our opinion that fencing one body of water over it being a potential hazard and not the others is pointless at best and detrimental to the physical appearance of the botanical gardens and to the many people who love and appreciate the importance of nature play for their children.
If this fence were to go ahead, are we to expect any and all bodies of water to be fenced also? For example the very same park has a swampy area further down and the Nogoa River runs through the botanical gardens, both potential hazards. When you enter the botanical gardens you are exposing yourself to risks and potential hazards of many kinds, if this hazard management is implemented, where do you draw the line?
This is not a place children go unattended, and as parents it is important to evaluate risks, identify hazards and make informed choices for our children's safety. Children must be kept as safe as needed, not as safe as possible. We can’t eliminate challenges and risks that are essential for learning and development.
We are of the opinion that a sign would be more than sufficient to help people become aware that there is water in that area.
"The Windmill Park is one of my kids favourite parks, that we visit weekly, as they are able to have unrestricted outdoor play, no equipment that should be used in a certain way, everything is left up to their imagination. The sensory input they receive from their time playing in the mud and water in the windmill pond is invaluable to their development. My kids love climbing on the rocks watching the water pour out of the windmill, watching sticks float down the little stream into the pond, running around the pond singing at the top of their lungs, playing with sticks to see who can ‘catch’ the biggest, slimiest weed, letting their feet dangle off the jetty into the water, walking through the muddy surrounds of the pond feeling the slimy, squishy mud go between their toes, making mud ‘ice-creams’ and ‘pies’ and ‘selling’ them to each other, pretending the jetty is a stage and preforming for the ducks, running around trying to get closer to the ducks without scaring them away, collecting water and observing all the creatures in it, climbing in the trees that sideline the pond and simply just sitting and looking at the beautiful scenery." Mother of 2 young children.
“…the growing body of scientific research…indicates that experiences in the natural world may reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, serve as a buffer to depression and anxiety, help prevent or reduce obesity and myopia, boost the immune system, and offer many other psychological and physical health benefits. Time spent in nature may also improve social bonding and reduce social violence, stimulate learning and creativity, strengthen the conservation ethic, and even help raise standardised text scores.” Richard Louv - Vitamin N
“The outdoors is unpredictable, and oftentimes children will come across things that are unexpected. The outdoors forces them to assess their environment and evaluate risks. When a young child becomes adept at evaluating her environment, assessing risks, and accepting challenges, she also becomes confident. As children learn to navigate uneven terrain without falling, figure out how to cross a stream without getting wet, and successfully hike up mountains with their parents, they learn to gather their strength and persist, even when something seems difficult or impossible. The learn what they are physically and mentally capable of when rewarding in many ways.” Angela J Hanscom - Balanced and Barefoot
Please help us preserve the beauty of our natural environment and play space for our children.
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