Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Facilities for kids.

It has been brought to my attention by members of my community and others in the entire Cairns region that all major works in the pipeline are for the adult sector.

There is a great need for a Cultural Precinct, adequate Tennis Centre, an Edmonton Town Centre, new highway routes into Cairns from Gordonvale and essential upgrades to bike lanes throughout the region. In order for these public facilities and works to maintain high usage for years to come there must be more money, significant money, spent on youth development in this city.

We desperately need a multi-purpose OUTDOOR facility in the Bentley Park/Edmonton area for football codes, baseball, soccer and softball. Currently we have inadequate areas in which to train, play and learn these sports. This MUST be a priority for those with the power to make it happen. Lighting would need to be installed for games that end after sunset and the necessary amount of car parks are also essential. This would enable those with an interest or talent in these sports to take part in the social, physical and community aspects of the game.

There is need for more facilities like the one at Woree State School to teach young children road rules, safe cycling practices while getting them outdoors and active.
This facility is a fantastic one which benefits the entire school and therefore, the community around it. It features lanes, road signs, crossings etc and gives these children the confidence required to safely use the road. One of these on the north side at Smithfield or one of the beaches would be excellent and another near Gordonvale.

More money needs to be injected into sports which are individual but more costly, making them beyond the reach of the larger population. Gymnastics and Martial Arts are a great way to learn strength, discipline and confidence but are too expensive for most families. The Southside Gymnasium needs to be twice the size to accomodate the need it currently has and both Gyms in our region need funding for more coaches and a boost in attendance.

I have also been informed that a clay based court for tennis is the best way to get children to continue in tennis if this is their chosen sport. A green court has too high a bounce and makes it difficult for young people to serve the ball. Frustration leads to a great big case of giving up. I do not know what the feasability is for this type of surface, apparently there are 'false' alternatives that do the same job but are more appropriate to our weather conditions. Either way, it deserves consideration.

Sugarworld needs to be upgraded and re-opened at the earliest possible time. This facility is one which was enjoyed by the whole of Cairns as a cheap, fun way to spend a day and all ages were catered for. The new water park near Smithfield will be fantastic but not affordable for more than the occasional visit.

Our children need to be 'entertained' and kept active so that they do not follow other, more negative pursuits. Sport and outdoor activities are a fantastic asset to Cairns and while it is always about the cost, it should also be about our children and their future. These children will grow to be the ones we watch at the new Tennis Centre in another Davis Cup tie, they will be the ones we cheer on while holding our Footy Double tickets, the ones we wear green and gold for at the next Soccer World Cup. We need to invest a lot more in our greatest assets.

On a side note;

Rebates or grants are in existence for power, houses, petrol and many other living expenses. It would not be much of a stretch to allow a rebate for sport also.

It has been proven that scholastic education is equal to sporting pursuits in raising well-adjusted children. Currently we recieve a rebate of up to $350 per year for Primary School students and $750 for Secondary for educational expenses, if this was equalled for sport and dance and we could produce reciepts for swimming lessons, Choi Kwang Do, baseball, football, soccer, AFL, gymnastics, dancing etc......more parents would get their children to participate and our children would all be healthier, more confident and far less 'bored'.

Just a suggestion.


  1. On "Facilities for Kids"
    In regards to facilities available for children in Cairns suburbs, I'd like to add to a report shown in the weekend Cairns Post (17th & 18th July 2010). Comments were made against the state of cleanliness and of the play equipment available in the suburban parks in Cairns, in particular the Woree/Earville area.
    As a Woree resident i cant speak for other parks in Cairns, but it appears to some of the residents in the area that alot of the damage is being created at night especially in the parks leading down Henley street in Earlville and one in particular that is used quite commonly.
    Frequantly the parks are used in both the day time and night for couples and youth and often they're committing public nuisance offences. Fighting, lovers quarrels and drunken behaviour is some of the most common situations that local residents have to tolerate on a regular basis.
    Therefor, it is not just the cleanliness of the parks its the way they are being used that makes them dissapointing. Perhaps the solution to alot of the issues is the parks need to be monitored by some kind of security in particular at night. Any high risk area in the CBD is monitored by nightwatch security, why cant the local parks be as well??
    Saddest part is the area has alot of youths rangeing from 10 years (probably younger)to teenage years committing drunken offences at night. SHAME ON YOU PARENTS. I may not be mother of the year but i sure as hell know what my 11yr old is doing at night. AND ITS NOT VANDALISING YOUR PROPERTY THANK YOU!!
    Its a disgrace to our community, shame on the families who's children are responsible and a perfect example of the failures of our D.O.C.S system.
    Hopefully Ms Lesina will find this just as important as the dog parks....
    Concerned Mum

  2. Fair comment. It has been shown that the best deterrent for nuisance behaviour in parks is adequate lighting. I am not familiar with the parks you are referring to but have one with the same problem in my street. If they put in security lighting that turned on when the street lights do, no darkness to commit dodgy acts. While it is not a perfect solution, you say that during daylight the problem is the same, it does actually work. The real issue appears to be boredom. Our young people have parents who can't afford sports to keep them busy, have parents who can't budget or have problems of their own and for whatever reason, disengage with society. These kids lack confidence, which is why they need groups to feel important, they lack guidance, whick is why they look to the leader (sometimes aged 10) for direction and they do not have any pride in themselves. This is what needs to change. But lighting is a start. If you call the police, they will drive past but calling every day is a bit much to ask of anyone. Unfortunatley, there is no easy answer but hopefully, things will change for these kids in the form of new programs for parents and children run through Mission Australia and that will make a huge difference.