The Poplars at Steel Park provide wonderful dappled shade for people to play under and; of course, that lovely sound made by their leaves.

The Poplars at Steel Park provide wonderful dappled shade for people to play under and; of course, that lovely sound made by their leaves.

Marrickville Council has released the findings of their community consultation conducted in October/November 2014 regarding the Parks along the Cooks River, excluding Tempe Reserve. These are Mahoney Reserve, Steel Park, the Cooks River Foreshore (the area between Steel & Mackey Parks), Mackey Park & Kendrick Park.

This post is about the feedback on Steel Park.  Participants came from a range of suburbs with 28 people from Marrickville & the rest from Earlwood, Rozelle, Moorebank, Petersham. Ashfield, Dulwich Hill, Leichhardt, Canterbury, Summer Hill, Kingsgrove, Bexley North, Tempe, St Peters, Stanmore, Canada Bay, Balmain, Lewisham & Maroubra.

31 people said they drove to Steel Park, 25 walked & 10 rode their bicycle.  Most of the participants came to the park once or more per week.

“If you could have anything in the world in Steel Park, what would it be?”   Responses ranged from –

  • Café.
  • More picnic shelters & barbeques.
  • Fence the park off from the river to stop children running & falling into the river.
  • Fence the Waterplay area.
  • Fence the river.
  • More play & waterplay equipment.
  • More trees, more shade.
  • More seats.
  • Amphitheatre & outdoor cinema.
  • Tree house.
  • Man-made beach.

Others wanted “making it easier to find lost keys in the mulch, parents & kids yoga & no Ibis in the park.

I fear for the Ibis & believe they should be allowed to live in our environment. These birds only came to the city because their own habitat was severely degraded by drought & then fire. The river is a natural place for them to live.

Many people do not know that Ibis are an Australian native bird, instead thinking that they come from Egypt.  Being with wildlife in a park is something that I think is positive & a very good thing for children to experience.

I am not a fan of signs, but a sign explaining that Ibis are a protected species & are an Australian native should help.  Also the amount of left-over food that is dumped post picnic in the gardens is an invitation to Ibis to come & feast.  They have a love of human food, so with much food left in the park, what can people expect?

The positive comments about Steel Park ranged from multiple uses, many cultures, feeling at ease, friendly, tranquil, natural shade from trees, kid friendly, “prettiest park around” & even the “snow” from the Poplar trees.

Things people disliked ranged from a lack of fencing on the river, a lack of parking, speeding cyclists, “dirty Ibis,” not dog friendly, busy due to limited barbeque facilities, litter & “disgusting toilets.”

Last summer Marrickville Council placed speed humps for bicycles along the shared pathway & as far as I can see, this has helped slow the cyclists.   If you speed over these humps you would very likely damage your bike wheels. It is a very good intervention in my opinion & I cycle. The humps still allow the children to ride on the path & add a good level of safety.

Steel Park is my favourite park on Marrickville’s section of the river mainly because of the trees & the area around the saltwater wetland.  Changing this into something that supports the environment rather than being a car park as it was once was a stroke of brilliance on Council’s behalf.  Not only is it great habitat for wildlife, but it is also a safe area for kids to explore.

I adore the dappled shade of the Poplar trees & know of no other park in Marrickville LGA that has the same outlook. People can sit on a patch of grass anywhere & be assured of shade, which is important for many months of the year. The seasonal changes of the Poplar trees is also something quite lovely & I enjoy that kids run & jump in the fallen leaves.

If people would not leave behind their unwanted food behind, string & balloons or litter the place, then Steel Park would be much nicer.  I like that there are areas where one can sit by the river without being near the playground.  Also, the shared path is terrific. I personally would prefer that the river not be fenced off.  If a fence has to be included, perhaps it can be in the form of a hedge between the playground & the shared path. To be able to access the river is one of the big pluses of this park.

Litter at Steel Park Marrickville.

Litter at Steel Park Marrickville. No wonder the Ibis come to inspect.