I went to Peace Park in Chippendale this week to speak with a friend.  We didn’t stay because the park was full of people & all the seats were taken.  This isn’t a whinge. For a

These are the team seats & the only seating outside the play ground

small park it is a lovely area, full of seats & full of shade.  It was not surprising that people chose to leave their homes or workplace & come & sit in the park.  We just were not early enough.

It made me think of the number of people who have spoken to me of late about the lack of seating in Mackey Park or along the Cooks River.  Sorry Marrickville Council, but they are not happy.  Various people have approached me & said the following –

“I can’t take my 72-year old mum down to Mackey Park because there is nowhere she can sit.  She doesn’t want to sit in the playground.”

“I’ve seen old ladies sitting on the ground. Why aren’t there any benches?”

“You can’t sit anywhere along the Cooks River & watch the water go by.”

“Two little benches is not enough for the clubs. These are not even enough for two teams & there is usually more than one game at the park at the one time.”

“Where are the families watching their kids’ games going to sit?”

“It’s hot. There are no trees near the fields.”

“Mackey Park was better 10 years ago.  The older people used to come down to the park & socialize.”

“They don’t want the community to use the park.”

“Why aren’t there any shrubs on the embankment? It looks too bare.”

I vacillated about writing about this as Mackey Park is the golden project at the moment & a lot of money has been spent.  I didn’t want to be seen as ungrateful & picking holes in the work that had been done. But too many people asked when was I going to write about this.

Personally I think the work that has been done is great, especially the wetland.  I love that we still have the Mackey Park Figs & that herons, ibis, ravens & ducks have moved in.  I like that the community can still walk through the park to Tempe Railway Station & they are not shoved out to navigate Richardsons Crescent as was the original plan.  I like that 2 Eucalypts have been planted on the verge at Carrington Road. I also like the playground & think it is far better than what was previously there.

Mackey Park sign

However, I have to agree that there needs to be seating around the fields for players, coaches, parents, any onlookers as well as use by the general community. A lot of people come to this park when there are soccer games &  practice is on.  I also think that tall growing shade producing trees could be planted around the perimeter of the park.

I think that some benches & tables could be placed near other shade trees, but close enough to the road for people to meet & talk with their friends.  I very much believe that there needs to be a number of benches at intervals along & facing the Cooks River where there is a break in the mangroves & the river can be seen.

It’s wonderful that money was spent on Mackey Park, but there is serious community debate as to whether the infrastructure is sufficient for both the players & the community.  When I suggested that people should contact Council & tell them themselves, I was told that this was my role, to speak for them in this case.

So Marrickville Council, how about planting some shade producing trees, putting in some more seating & a couple of tables?  And maybe some ground-covering Grevilleas to cover up the bare earth & provide food for the birds on the embankment & add some colour & beauty?  I think these things will make a lot of people happy.

I have posted a 1.14 minute YouTube video for those who are interested – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEyWqiLv3L8

Part of the embankment at Mackey Park