Cumberland City Council have now opened a newly refurbished Merrylands Memorial Park, which has been retro-fitted with the first of its kind UV smart materials to protect children from heated play equipment.
“With communities facing unprecedented heat, drought and bushfire weather conditions across NSW, we are delighted to be pioneers in creating a safe space for children and their families,” Mayor of Cumberland City Council Steve Christou said.
“The new UV Smart Cool Playground cleverly combines new technology and physical play in an innovative environment for the community.”
Cumberland City Council partnered with Western Sydney University to conduct research around the scale of heat in western Sydney.
Research lead Dr Sebastian Pfautsch, from the University’s School of Social Sciences, found communities in western Sydney experience extreme heat more frequently than previously known, with temperatures of play equipment hitting nearly 80 degrees Celsius.
“The UV Smart, Cool Playground project has brought together government, industry and research partners to develop Australia’s first prototype playground to address increasing temperatures which are leaving our playgrounds unplayable,” said Dr Pfautsch.
“Heat-smart playgrounds can provide a safe and enjoyable place; they can be used longer in summer and act as a cool refuge for the community. The adaption of existing playgrounds is an important way to reduce urban heat loads.”
According to Dr Pfautsch, the unshaded rubber found in many playgrounds across Australia can reach nearly 100 degrees Celsius on a warm day. By implementing cooling strategies, including shading as the project has done, temperatures can be reduced by half.
This project has been supported by Local Government NSW and grants funded by the NSW Government.
Softfall material has been donated by Polysoft and shade cover has been donated by Alfresco Shade and GALE Pacific.