Council set to start reopening play parks from this week

Want to read more?

At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall, However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.

To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thanks you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time

We value our content  and access to our full site is  only available with a  subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device In addition your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards

Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish)

Already a subscriber?

 

Subscribe Now

The Highland Council is planning to reopen play areas across the region throughout summer.

Advice was provided by the Scottish Government at the end of last month as to the safety measures that should be applied.

The council has 436 play spaces of which 336 are equipped play areas with 2011 individual items of play equipment.

Since the lockdown, these play parks have been closed and have not been inspected, or had any maintenance work carried out.

Before reopening, all council play parks have to be in a safe and serviceable condition. To do this a full inspection and maintenance programme must be carried out.

The council said this is a significant undertaking and will take time, so needs to be done in a phased, prioritised manner due to staff shortages.

The council said it expects to begin opening sites from this week onwards and its website will be updated next week with the list of the sites reopening first across the region.

All park users are asked to use the facilities safely, observe social distancing, apply enhanced hygiene and to keep the parks tidy by taking their litter home with them.

The council’s Amenities Service is operating at a much-reduced capacity with less than 50 percent staff compared to previous years.

Many communities have supported the service during the pandemic with grass cutting, strimming and generally maintaining sites in their areas.

‘We would like to encourage community volunteers to assist us with the grass cutting in play areas, as long as they have carried out a risk assessment and adhere to social distancing,’ added the council today (Monday).

Councillor Allan Henderson (Caol and Mallaig), chairman of the Communities and Place Committee, said: ‘We are very pleased to be able to begin a phased reopening of Highland Council play parks from today.  This will be a gradual process as the council has to ensure that checks and safety inspections of the play equipment and infrastructure are carried out within the available staffing levels of the council.

Councillor Allan Henderson. NO-F40-Allan-Henderson
Councillor Allan Henderson.
NO-F40-Allan-Henderson

‘We ask everyone to bear with us as not all play parks can reopen at the same time and signage will be erected indicating whether they are safe to use.’

The local authority added that people must continue to take responsibility for themselves while using the play parks and do so at their own risk, and must follow government guidelines on social distancing.

Signage will also be erected at all play parks to remind people to wash their hands and or use sanitiser as appropriate.