Call for nature playground for Poonindie children

Poonindie Early Childhood Centre is hoping to see a nature playground developed at the Poonindie Reserve for the benefit of its children and surrounding families.

The centre has been taking children to the reserve, known as "The Beyond" since 2016 where it has been able to explore the surroundings with the children, hold celebrations and science investigations as well as enjoy a bonfire or two.

Centre director Shannon Carter said when staff learned the Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council was thinking about redeveloping the reserve, they decided to put the case forward for a nature playground at the reserve.

"I put together a slide show outlining the many benefits of nature play, with some visual examples of what they could include, our kindy children and staff had their say too," she said.

"Nature play has both physical and mental benefits, regular play in the outdoors has been proven to improve mood as well as reduce mental fatigue and depression."

Another hoping to see a nature playground at Poonindie is local parent Mick Minto, who lives next door to the reserves and has been assisting the centre by providing some equipment for the children to use and even keeping the grass short in the play area.

Mr Minto said he believed there should be some sort of nature playground in the reserve, similar to the one at the Cummins Railway Triangle Park.

"This is the perfect spot for it," he said.

Mrs Carter said having a nature playground would be of great benefit to local families to combat the dependency on technology such as tablets, smart phones and video games as entertainment.

"With rising obesity in Australia and technology taking over our world these are effecting the development in a wide range of ways," she said.

"Poonindie is fast becoming a hub of activity with families buying or renting here.

"A natural, engaging play space for the children and families to access would be fabulous and developmentally extremely important."

The council will consult with Poonindie residents in mail out format regarding future development of the reserve later in the 2019/20 budget year, after which it will decide what will be pursued.

The council allocated $15,000 in the budget for improvements to the reserve and $5000 of it will be used to clean up the undergrowth and remove seedlings that detract from the "visual amenity" of the area.

Two walking trails were proposed to improve the reserve but Mr Stirling said community consultation was needed to decide how the remaining $10,000 would be used.

"Staff have been informed...that at the community consultation meetings there was an indication from the people present that they were not looking for these (walking trails) type of improvements to be undertaken in the reserve," he said.

"Based on this it is therefore suggested that it would be wise to undertake consultation with the wider Poonindie community to see if this is a consensus view or just the feelings of those people present at the time.

"More can be done to improve the area with regards to general maintenance as well as tidying up the area to realise the potential of what is currently an underutilised area."

Mr Stirling said access to the stormwater basin area was limited and work to clean up the undergrowth and remove seedlings could only be undertaken during summer if the basin dried out.

Councillor Wendy Holman said it was exciting to see the request for a nature playground had come through following the recent meet and greet at Poonindie.

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