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Pirate Ship Playground in Rex Smeal Park Unsafe

Douglas Shire Council inspects every playground in the shire regularly for safety and the most recent safety inspection of the playground in Rex Smeal Park identified critical  safety issues.

The playground has now been closed and fenced off to restrict access.  Signs are in place advising it is dangerous to use the equipment.

One of the main load bearing posts for the top deck of the ship has disintegrated due to wood rot and cannot take any weight.

Due to the age of the equipment, it is not feasible to repair and it will be removed during the week of 21 November 2022.

Replacement – Consultation

The playground in Rex Smeal Park was identified for improvement in Douglas Shire Council’s Operational Plan 2021-22.

A concept plan for a new Green Ant Playground, was prepared and released for public comment August 2021.  There were 206 responses across Facebook and written submissions.  A total of 163 were in support and 43 not supportive.

Those 79% in support loved the design and loved the location incorporating the fig tree. It meant children could still have access to the tree to climb and the tree means the entire playground is in the shaded area.

Others noted the area felt a bit run down and this new, modern playground was an excellent solution to give it the area a much-needed lift.

Traditional owners thought it was a wonderful concept and requested a plaque on the site The Green Ant is known as Yangka in the local Kuku Yalanji language.  It is used by them as medicine.

The concept was therefore progressed to detailed design and costings.


Councillors resolved to endorse a grant application for the upgrade of the Rex Smeal Park playground in February and  a grant application was lodged under the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, Round 6.

The results were expected in July 2022.

In August 2022, the Federal Government advised a new regional development policy would be formed to allocate funding to regions across Australia.

The statement advised the Australian Government would finalise its position on Building Better Regions Fund Round 6 following publication of the Australian National Audit Office’s report into the program, which was tabled in Parliament on 28 July 2022.

In the interim, as we have a shovel ready project, Council officers are seeking alternative grant opportunities to secure funding to replace the playground.


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