The lack of shaded play areas in parks across the Great Lakes region has long been a concern for the community, but now a solution is in the works.
Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead this week announced $550,000 funding had been secured for the purpose of providing safe, shaded play areas across the Myall Lakes region, to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
The topic of sun safety hits close to home for Mr Bromhead, whose father died from skin cancer, and who has had multiple melanomas removed himself.
“Securing funding to combat this issue is very important for our region as we know skin cancer is a big issue in Australia, particularly in coastal areas such as this region,” Mr Bromhead said.
“I get a lot of feedback from families in the community who desperately want these sun safety measures implemented, it’s a high priority.”
Mr Bromhead is hopeful MidCoast Council will use the money wisely, rolling out shade for as many playgrounds in the area as possible and getting “bang for buck.”
At the top of the list are Palmgrove Park in Forster and Tuncurry Park.
“Shade over playgrounds is a big plus, it gets the message out there that we need to stay out of the sun at certain times of the day, that we need to wear sunscreen and that we need to wear hats,” Mr Bromhead added.
“I’m really pleased with this development, I’m sure the money will be used on playgrounds.”
For Forster mother of four Candice Fanning, who has been a leading advocate for the community in the push for change, the funding is welcome news.
“A lot of parents I know, myself included, don’t use the parks and don’t take our kids to the playgrounds because there just isn’t any shading over the play areas,” Candice said.
“This is fantastic progress for our local parks. It’s wonderful to see the needs of our growing community being listened to. Let’s hope we see more of it in the future.”