Merrylands Memorial Park will be retro-fitted with UV smart materials to help build resilience during warmer temperatures.
“As communities face unprecedented heat, drought and bushfire conditions across NSW, it’s important that we have playgrounds that are resilient and comfortable for families to use,” Mayor Steve Christou said.
“Our new UV smart playground cleverly combines new technology and physical play to get kids moving and interacting in a safe and innovative way.
“At the Merrylands Memorial Park, we will be installing a recyclable shade cover and using a heat smart soft fall surface made of polyolefin polymer, which is better as it doesn’t absorb and retain as much heat as rubber surfaces.
“UV Smart, Cool Playground is a prototype project and we will be producing a guideline to share with our supporters - WSROC, KidSafe NSW, Cancer Council, Western Sydney Local Health District and other councils.”
In partnership with Cumberland City Council, Western Sydney University has been conducting research on playgrounds across the suburbs of Cumberland, logging temperatures, identifying hotspots and assessing thermal performance of playground materials.
Project lead Dr Sebastian Pfautsch, from the University’s School of Social Sciences, said research he conducted found communities in western Sydney experience extreme heat more frequently than previously known and the adaption of existing playgrounds is an important way to reduce urban heat loads.
“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.”
This project has been supported by Local Government NSW and assisted by a $106,000 grant from the NSW Government.
The UV Smart Playground is expected to be ready for next summer.
Softfall material will be donated by Polysoft and shade cover will be donated by Alfresco Shade and GALE Pacific.