FORMALISING PARK CARE (Story courtesy of MBNews)

Photo From Left:
Adam Poulus (Principal), Aijalon Chambers and Sarah Milne (School Captains) with Cr David Pahlke
STUDENTS at Grandchester State School have formally undertaken a commitment to care for the two parks in their township, Community Park and Bigges Camp Park.
At a recent meeting wtih Cr Dave Pahlke the student leaders signed a Partnership Agreement between themselves and Council outlining the responsibilities of both parties. Cr Pahlke said that the park users are by far the best people to be the ‘eyes and ears’ linking directly to responsible adults. “What we are asking of the children is that they take an ownership of the park and report any damage or vandalism to either parents or teachers so the information can come to Council.”
“This is already working well with the Henry Lawson Bicentennial Park at Walloon where students from Walloon have a very real role in how the park is managed. “We invite the children of Grandchester to have input into the types of equipment placed in the park and listen to their suggestions of what activities they use the space for.” Last year Cr Pahlke along with Representatives of ICC’s Parks Department met at Bigges Camp Park with the students to discuss future changes.
“We were considering upgrades so it was an ideal time to include the students in the process and they have already showed us that they have a genuine interest in what the park offers. “They were quite definite in what they thought would suit all ages in this community and managed to gain extra funding by their sheer persistence,” he said with a grin as he recalled how the students had pushed for more funding than he had initially offered.
“I was able to announce to the students that we have approved a total of $50,000 and the children have already chosen the equipment that they feel best suits the children of this community.”
Cr Pahlke said that the Partnership is one that has benefits for all concerned, giving the children a chance to gain an understanding of what it takes to create and maintain a public space. “The students were shocked when they realised how much equipment costs and had never considered the maintenance requirements to ensure a park is a nice place to visit. “The kids are more likely to not only report damage to an adult but to also monitor their peers actions regarding damage to equipment once they have an understanding of how a park is managed,” he said.
Each year the Partnership Agreement is re-signed, after on site meetings between the students and Council staff to discuss any ideas or issues.
“I look forward to a productive year working with the Grandchester students as they care for their Parks,” Cr Pahlke said.

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