Lake Macquarie City Council closes its 110 playgrounds in response to government's advice on coronavirus measures

SHUT DOWN: Mayor Kay Fraser at Rathmines Park playground in 2017. The council this week closed its 110 playgrounds in response to the COVID-19 threat. Picture: David Stewart.
SHUT DOWN: Mayor Kay Fraser at Rathmines Park playground in 2017. The council this week closed its 110 playgrounds in response to the COVID-19 threat. Picture: David Stewart.

EVEN local slippery dips and outdoor exercise stations are now off limits in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Lake Macquarie City Council has closed its playgrounds, skate parks, swimming baths and a range of other public facilities in line with latest Australian Government health recommendations.

Council's director of built and natural assets David Hughes said the closure affected all public playgrounds in the local government area - more than 110 in total.

Public barbecues, outdoor exercise equipment, Speers Point dog park, Speers Point Park's Lake Macquarie Variety Playground and Pasterfield Sports Complex at Cameron Park are among the other facilities and sites now off-limits, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

"No-one wants to introduce such widespread measures, but in these unprecedented circumstances they are necessary," Mr Hughes said.

"The Prime Minister advised on Tuesday night that outdoor play centres should close. These measures align with that ruling.

Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon with mayor Kay Fraser and state member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper, at the opening of the Wangi Wangi Fitness Trail in 2018. Outdoor exercise stations are now off limits. Picture: David Stewart

Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon with mayor Kay Fraser and state member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper, at the opening of the Wangi Wangi Fitness Trail in 2018. Outdoor exercise stations are now off limits. Picture: David Stewart

"By their nature, the facilities closing today encourage congregations of people in large numbers or enclosed spaces, and that's something we all must avoid at the moment."

Under the closures, playgrounds and other facilities with fencing will be locked, with electrical supply switched off for public barbecues.

Signs will be erected at other open playgrounds, advising of the closure.

"We can't physically shut off every playground and other facility that falls under these new arrangements, but we urge the community to take heed of them, for everyone's sake," Mr Hughes said.

Shared pathways, public jetties, boat ramps and open green space will remain open, with social distancing.

"We will continue to review the situation and take advice from the Australian Government and NSW Health, making decisions accordingly," Mr Hughes said.

"Obviously, the aim is to get these facilities reopened to the community as soon as possible, but right now the absolute priority is public health and reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community."

Go to lakemac.com.au/COVID-19 for information and updates.

An aerial view of Speers Point Park and the Lake Macquarie Variety Playground. Picture: Supplied.

An aerial view of Speers Point Park and the Lake Macquarie Variety Playground. Picture: Supplied.

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