Parent power gets park up and running

Mum Caroline Sharp with baby Hope and daughter Laura at a park nearer home in Dalmally.

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All areas of Oban Community Park should be up and running soon thanks to parent power.

Parents and carers taking the time to report broken equipment and faults at the park near Atlantis are playing a big part in getting the popular play spot fully open again, says Emma D’Arcy who is vice-chairperson of Friends of Oban Community Play Park.

The play park committee has been sharing the council’s fault hotline urging the public to call in and report any problems.

‘We’ve been encouraging people to report any faults or problems direct to the council and that’s what people have been doing, so getting the park fully open again is down to them, I’m sure,’ added Mrs D’Arcy.

Making voices heard is making a difference to getting the park, which has had several pieces out of use or missing, restored to its former glory.

Any new and outstanding issues or faults can be reported by calling, texting or using the online contact form on the Argyll and Bute council website.

A contractor who supplied equipment for the park is due to make ‘a special trip’ this week to make repairs and carry out checks.

The tower climbing frame had been fenced off for sometime but a few days ago the barriers were taken away which is ‘a good sign the council is on the case’, said Mrs D’Arcy.

Families whose youngsters use an all-abilities swing with support in the park and were left with nothing else to play on when it was removed, were among those who put in complaints to the council.

Caroline Sharp who regularly travels from Dalmally to the park so her 14-month-old daughter Hope can enjoy the swing, contacted Argyll and Bute Council to ask for it to be fixed and returned as soon as possible.

The special swing is the only piece of equipment that Hope, who has low muscle-tone and Down Syndrome, can use.

‘None of the other parks near here and where we live have anything at all that Hope can play on with the support she needs because of her low muscle-tone. We’d like to see more inclusive equipment in more parks,’ said  Caroline, who has two older daughters.

Straps to make playing on the swing more secure are kept by Atlantis to avoid damage or vandalism and have to be requested from the leisure centre reception, which has also caused difficulties while lockdown restrictions have been in place.

In response to Mrs Sharp’s complaint about the swing, a  council spokesperson said: ‘The swing is a specialist piece of equipment and it is vital we use the correct parts to have it repaired.

‘The contractor who supplied the equipment is making a special trip up next week to make the repairs and checks required to open all areas of the play park.’

Argyll and Bute Council does have an agreement to maintain Oban Community Play Park with equipment regularly needing greasing or oiling to keep it in good working order and to stop it breaking, but Covid and the lockdown restraints have not helped, said Mrs D’Arcy.