News

A rubbery solution to the Keppel Kraken children woes

UPDATE 1.20PM: A SPLIT lip, broken teeth and possible surgery are the memories eight-year-old Bailey Molen has of his day at Keppel Kraken on the weekend.

It was one child-vs-concrete block incident too many for Livingstone mayoral candidate Heath Henwood who claimed "council had built a community liability".

The incident is set to be the last of its kind as Livingstone council moves to cover part of the site in rubber.

>> Jump to reader response

Mr Henwood said Bailey fell and crashed face first into a concrete block, "causing a deep cut and knocking many of his precious teeth out".

"The current design does not fully consider the needs of the young children who are often active users of the playground," Mr Henwood said. "The playground is full of sharply angled raised concrete platforms that when wet are slippery and hazardous."

While Bailey and his mum Fran Molen spent hours at both Yeppoon and Rockhampton hospitals, the family were continuing to wait to find out if his lip would require surgery.

"My children don't want to go back to the waterpark," Mrs Molen said.

"I was upset.

"I just don't think it was designed well to suit children".

Mr Henwood said "authentic consultation with local parent groups and childcare experts" was needed before the Kraken was built.

"Every child and family who visit the Kraken should be able to have fun without fear of danger. Right now this facility is not the asset it should be to our community," he said.

Livingstone mayor Bill Ludwig said while council had not received any reports of injuries caused by the concrete blocks, council was taking steps to ensure the safety of children while at Keppel Kraken.

A rubber matting system is set to be applied on to the surface of the concrete blocks which would act as a buffer against sharp edges.

The rubber layer will add $22,000 to the cost of Keppel Kraken, bringing the total bill close to $3.5 million.

"We've got our best designers, our project team has been proactively monitoring the situation and the recommended time frame would be the beginning of winter," he said.

Vee Design director David Hatherly, who was responsible for the design of Keppel Kraken, said it was not uncommon for play structure designs to be revisited after they opened to the public.

"Let's say it's a fine tuning of things," Mr Hatherly said.

"We also monitor the play environment. It needs to be challenging for kids because the worst thing we can do is design these places and then have no kids want to use it because it bores them."

He said the rubber coating, called PolySoft, was designed to be applied to the surface of the concrete blocks. "It's rubber so it's all these individual little rubber balls that get put together in a glue paste," Hatherly explained.

"Then it's trowelled over the top and allowed to set and dry."

"It's got some bounce."

Photos from the opening of the Keppel Kraken

 

 

UPDATE THURSDAY, 4PM:

A rubber layer will be laid on some of the blocks at Keppel Kraken which will act as a buffer against the sharp edges.

Bailey with his split lip.
Bailey with his split lip. Contributed

Livingstone Shire mayor Bill Ludwig said council had not received any reports of injuries sustained at the Keppel Kraken however they were taking steps to ensure safety of children around the concrete blocks.

"The areas where the littlies are and we'll need to shut down for four to five days," he said.

"We are looking at doing either in the early winter shut down or after Easter."

The rubber layer will add $22,000 to the cost of Keppel Kraken, bringing the total bill to close to $3.5 million.

The play area opened in December with thousands flocking to the Yeppoon Foreshore to see what the fuss was all about.

 

EARLIER:

A SPLIT lip, gushing blood and possible surgery are the memories eight-year-old Bailey Molen has of his day at the Keppel Kraken on the weekend.

It was one child-vs-concrete block incident too many for Livingstone mayoral candidate Heath Henwood who claimed  "council had built a community liability".

Mr Henwood said Bailey fell and crashed face first into a concrete block, "causing a deep cut and knocking many of his precious teeth out".

Bailey with his split lip.
Bailey with his split lip. Contributed

"The current design does not fully consider the needs of the young children who are often active users of the playground," Mr Henwood said.

"The playground is full of sharply angled raised concrete platforms that when wet are slippery and hazardous."

While Bailey and his mum Fran Molen spent hours both Yeppoon and Rockhampton hospitals, the family were continuing to wait to find out his lip would require surgery.

"My children don't want to go back to the waterpark," Mrs Molen said.

"I was upset.

"I just don't think it was designed well to suit children".

Mr Henwood said "authentic consultation with local parent groups and childcare experts" was needed before the Kraken was built.

"Every child and family who visit Kraken should be able to have fun without fear of danger. Right now this facility is not the asset it should be to our community," he said.

The Morning Bulletin has contacted Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig for comment.

How you reacted:

A split lip, gushing blood and possible surgery are the memories eight-year-old Bailey Molen has of his day at the Keppel Kraken on the weekend. Do you think the play area is child friendly? http://ow.ly/Zhmgk

Posted by The Morning Bulletin on Wednesday, March 9, 2016

 

Kaytie Jane - People do need to be careful, are you going to complain if you trip over on a footpath? Maybe watch what you are doing? Wouldn't the rubber make everything slippery with the water making the problem worse?

Lyn Laskus - If they looked at the one at Hervey Bay it would show them what safety non slip covering goes over the cement. How many more will get hurt, before someone gets a bright idea . As soon as I saw it I saw the safety issues.

Rachel Nichols - It looks beautiful, but safety was clearly not at the forefront of councils mind. Having young children, as much as i supervise, they would hurt themself here. I happily drive to Gladstone and enjoy their family orientated designed water park. Also used to love Mackays Lagoon when we lived there. So much more potential with the money spent, it really is a shame Bill Ludwig and co. did not consider any public imput, seem as thats who foots the bill for it.

Beck Latcham - I visited the waterpark a few days after it opened and was so worried with kids jumping all over the concrete blocks. I really hope the safety improves so no more incidents happen.

Ryan O'Regan - Both parents and the children just need to be more careful.
When I was a kid, this was just something you dealt with.
Get over it and move on.

Katrina Sinclair - What a hazard that place is. Not to mention it's not close to 'all access' for those with limited mobility.

Lyn Laskus - I thought that they had been warned about the safety issue of cement. Not at all like the one at Hervey Bay.

Sue Matt Bassett-Skilton - Our 18mth old toddled through the "creek bed" area tripped and was millimeters from one of those corners of concrete blocks! Accidents are going to happen everyday, did council look at other waterparks???? The whole place needs rubber softfall for safety and grip.

Evan Treacy - Also before people say this was a waste of money. As a 23 year old only 10-15 years ago we didn't have any of this... we had nothing of the sort... Yes we had the water park next to North Rocky but for most people at the time the $20 entry fee was too much to go every day.. Every thing we get given in this town just gets complaints and negativity thrown straight towards it, council can get all your issues fixed, but writing in to your local paper isn't always the best way to get things done (not a stab at the bully) just a stab at the fact that if these were all issues you had prior to this article, you could have messaged any member for parliament in the area or gone straight to council, I know they don't want to pay any public liability charges

Amber Kersey - Better question: were the parents supervising their children? It's not somewhere to dump the kids and play on the phone. Stop blaming other people for everything that goes wrong. Take some responsibility for your own actions. You chose to take your children to that location, you should be able to accept the risks and mitigate them for your child and family. Same as any other playground, park or public place. Be thankful we still have these facilities in this day and age, the time is coming when there will be no public play spaces left!

Casandra Kunst - Every parent I know that's been there including myself have all said how ridiculous the design with concrete and water is and we're waiting for council to be sued then it would close. Can't believe it passed council......

Maree Hoad - I think it's a fantastic facility that was highly needed in the area. Kids are going to be kids. I had a cousin break his leg jumping off the couch. Better kids are outside and entertained. As a mum of 3, kids are going to injure themselves at some stage, you just have to deal with it.

Jennie Diefenbach - That's why its got the nickname Kraken skulls. My 4-year-old fell face first down the concrete blocks when another child ran into him, Luckily it wasn't as serious as poor Bailey's injury. Maybe the council should have considered Rubber Blocks and flooring rather than concrete. The water park at Harvey Bay is Rubber

Keith Hutton - Taking my kids to yeppoon for christmas. The highlight for them will be the beach and the waterplay. Some modifications might be necessary to the design but please dont destroy the progress that this council is trying to make. Cant wait for stage 2!

Meg O'Brien - This place is such the doubled edged sword!
It's fun and lovely! Has so much potential to be much better and so much safer too!
Parents do need to be responsible and supervise, which I see so many NOT doing! But it is not the most child friendly design.

Anna Louise Hildyard - It is really beautiful and I enjoy taking my family there but I do agree its quite unsafe. My son trip by his own feet today but because of these concrete blocks everywhere at face height he smacked his nose had a huge nose bleed and because the blocks are rough for gripping I'm assuming his face is all grazed. Probably wouldn't have been so bad if there wasn't so many of these blocks. Just need a flat area where kids can play freely in the water.

Crystal Lea Garner - I love the water park but it needs more work , My son (1 and half ) hit the corner of them step things and just missed his eye and has a massive egg on his eyebrow , it would be a great idea if they made it a bit safer and the tiles on the sea animals are very slippery mite bet a great idea if they made it a bit safer for the kids

Bec Dean - I think it's fantastic and I love the blocks. So do my kids and many others. Watch your kids, teach them their limits and if they do hurt themselves, they learn not to do the same thing next time. I bet every child who has been there, hurt or not, loves it. Mine do and I'm proud to have such a great FREE facility 5 minutes from my house.

Jill Harbeck - I was there recently with my niece and I was shocked that in this day and age with people suing for all reasons there was concrete blocks , My niece was WELL SUPERVISED but it still will not stop a accident , the other parts are OK but the concrete blocks are just a accident waiting to happen

Rachel Grant - I'm not surprised, the design is terrible and I can't understand how it got through in the first place. It's called kraken for a reason, cracked heads, cracked teeth etc. what a waste of tax payers money, it could've been so much better.

Ashleigh Powell - Whoever was in charge of health and safety and risk assessments clearly failed at their job and clearly haven't understood the needs of children when designing this park. It is essentially a glorified town water feature that is just not safe for children.

Ben Hoare - Wow, what a lot of sooks, the council has put in a water play area, so your children have somewhere to still play in the water when the ocean is unsafe due to stingers, and to gross during the coral spawning, at rate payers expense for anyone who's in the area, and all people can do is gripe.
Maybe instead of pointing the finger at others, declaring them useless at design, and that you know child safety better, you could show some community spirit. How hard would it be for one of concerned citizens to take a little initiative, start a go find me campaign, to start raising funds towards some safety upgrades. If everyone that is worried about slips, or hitting heads, chips in, you'll soon find that you'll be able to afford a tradie to get some materials and get it sorted. Talk to the council about how you might be able to help out. Get together with others to see if you can create a volunteer lifesaver program for the area if it's such a concern. The council can't afford to sort out every little nit picky complaint that some member of the public feels is going to become the greatest bane of everyone else's existence. The income from the rates is finite, and there are plenty of things that need doing, and a water park beside the beach isn't exactly an important issue, but they did it just to make your lives more enjoyable. And finally if you think you can do better than councillors making the decisions, stop whining, sort yourself out, and run for councillor at the next elections.

Suzzie Mckinnon - It was a matter of time!!
But in saying that everyone whinged until we got something. Now we do people are still whinging. If people think its to unsafe then dont take your kids there i say. There is always places that cost money.

Topics:  bill ludwig, cq elections 2016, heath henwood, keppel kraken, livingstone shire council




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