Playground joy for Portmarnock estate
IN what some councillors described as an ‘example to the rest of the county’ a community in Portmarnock has worked with Fingal County Council to provide a new playground for their estate.
While road-blocks were being put up by communities across Fingal to the construction of new playgrounds, the residents of St Anne’s in Portmarnock took a pro-active step in making it clear that they would welcome a neighbourhood playground in their estate.
Following discussions with the council’s Parks Division a design was prepared for the playground and a proposal put out on public display that met with the widespread approval of the community, with no one lodging a formal objection to the plan.
The proposal returned to the full council last week and was given its final stamp of approval and now looks set to be a reality for the residents of St Anne’s estate in the seaside town.
The proposed playground will be about 100 square metres in area and will be equipped with play equipment suitable for children, under eight years of age.
The playground boundary will be secured with a railing measuring 1.35 metres high and the surface area of the playground will be tarmac with ‘safer surface’ of rubber-tile, rubber wet pour, loose rubber or wood fibre provided in ‘critical fall areas’.
The playground is intended to serve the needs of the children living local and should not be seen as a regional facility.
Fingal County Council has appointed, by public tender, qualified contractors to design and construct the playground including all surfacing, boundary treatment and play equipment.
Council officials were widely praised for the level of consultation that took place on the project and how agreement was reached with the local community on the proposal.
Cllr Robbie Kelly (GP) joined in the congratulations and said he hoped the new playground would be of a similar high quality and natural design to the recently constructed playground at the Portmarnock Sports and Leisure Centre.
Cllr Alan Farrell (FG) commended the local community and the council for being ‘proactive’ in bringing the project to fruition and said the quality of the consultation was marked by the fact that there were no objections from the public to the proposal.
Cllr Peter Coyle (Lab) said the project was an ‘ideal’ that the rest of the county could follow and other communities who were nervous about having a playground in their area should see how this one works.
He also welcomed the fact that the facility was smaller and designed to be used only by children in the estate and was not a ‘drive-to’ facility.
Cllr Darragh O’Brien (FF) said the Malahide/Howth Ward had been very successful in providing playgrounds and said the fact that no objection was received was ‘fantastic’.
Cllr O’Brien also asked that where possible, the council should look at providing facilities for older children like hard courts or goal-posts adjacent to playgrounds.
Congratulations on the project also came from Cllr Michael Kennedy (FF), Cathaoirleach, Cllr Joe Corr (GP) and Cllr May McKeon (NP) which were accepted by Director of the Community Department, Senan Turnbull. He said that while he was happy with the roll-out of playground facilities he would like to see more locations agreed, particularly in the north and west of the county.
The St Anne’s project now has the unanimous agreement of the council and can proceed to design and construction
Wed July 19 2006
By John Manning