Parks and Playgrounds Frequently Asked Questions

At Council, we understand that our open spaces and the community’s love of outdoor living have shaped the character of the Shire and greatly contribute to our wellbeing and unique sense of place. As an organisation, we are committed to protecting our natural areas, supporting outdoor play, and ensuring equitable access to these special places.

Access to high quality playgrounds is an important part of the Shire’s identity, and makes a positive contribution to the health and wellbeing of the community in which we live. Play spaces have a key role in providing all our residents with recreational and leisure opportunities.

Council’s website has a tool to help you locate a playground close to your home and find out which facilities (including toilets, barbeques and parking) are available at each park and playground. This is also a great way to discover new places to visit throughout the Shire. Find a playground here.

Council has more than 150 playgrounds across the Sutherland Shire.  While your favourite playground may not be listed for renewal this year, ultimately all of our playgrounds will be renewed under our Playground Renewal Program, which is used to improve the overall safety, functionality and longevity Council’s community playgrounds.

In 2020/21 we will be renewing ten playgrounds:

  • Brigalow Place Reserve, Engadine
  • Burnum Burnum Sanctuary, Woronora

  • Cassandra Crescent Reserve, Heathcote
  • Green Point Reserve, Oyster Bay

  • Kalang Lane Reserve, Yowie Bay

  • Old School Park, Gymea Bay

  • Ross Reserve, Bangor

  • Sandy Point Playground, Sandy Point

We will be building a new all-abilities playground at Waratah Park, Sutherland. 

In July 2019, we began a Playground Renewal Program that will see our existing playgrounds progressively updated with refreshed equipment over the coming years. With so many existing playground assets, we’ve got a big job ahead of us.

All of Council’s playgrounds are inspected quarterly, and we undertake overall condition assessments on an annual basis. We use the condition assessment and factors such as age of the equipment, existing utilisation, changes in demographics, and overall site performance to prioritise the Renewal Program. We also review the Program to ensure that renewal projects are distributed equitably throughout the Shire.

Our Renewal Program will improve the standard of local, district and regional playgrounds across Sutherland Shire and ensure existing play spaces provide a high level of service to our community into the future.

Did you know Council currently provides a play facility within a 10 minute walk (840m) of nearly all residents in the Shire?

Council receives many competing demands for the installation of new or significantly upgraded playground equipment at locations across the Shire.  Unfortunately, it is not financially sustainable for Council to agree to all requests, and so requests for new or upgraded assets need to be delivered as part of a planned and prioritised approach.

Council's current asset management strategy is to prioritise the renewal of existing assets over the provision of new or upgraded assets.  Our focus is on reinvigorating the 150+ playgrounds we manage and only upgrading facilities or providing new playgrounds where demands are proven or a clear service gap has been identified.  Generally playground upgrades are focused on enhancing service levels at our district or regional parks and increasing the capacity to provide recreation opportunities for underrepresented groups like youth, seniors and those with limited mobility.

We are in the process of developing a Play Action Plan which will help provide guidance for the provision of all types of playgrounds within the Sutherland Shire into the future.

As part of our project development process, we use language like renewal, upgrade, and new to categorise the type of work to be undertaken. This has implications for the scope of work, the funding options available, the service being provided, and the type of consultation that will be undertaken. When we talk about projects in this way, this is generally what we mean:

Renewal: The service is existing, and will be replaced with the same service to the modern engineering equivalent.  

  • Example: There is an existing local playground that generally caters to children ages 2-10 that has reached the end of its serviceable life. Council will replace the facility with modern play equipment catering to children ages 2-10 to ensure the existing service continues to be provided.


Upgrade: The service is existing, but will be expanded to increase the capacity of the playground to accommodate additional age groups or demographics.

  •  Example: There is an existing local playground that generally caters to children ages 2-10. Demographic data indicates that the playground is in a growth area, and there are a large number of children ages 12-17 now living in the suburb. Council upgrades the existing playground to provide recreation opportunities for older users by providing additional facilities like outdoor basketball, skate facilities or a passive recreation space.


New: The service does not currently exist, and Council will construct a new facility to provide that service.

  • Example: There is a local park that does not currently have a playground. Analysis reveals that the nearest playground is more than 2km away, and there is a service gap in that area. Council constructs a new local playground to meet community need.


With more than 150 playgrounds, our parks range from small local playgrounds for a quick turn on the swings, to larger regional parks, which provide more facilities and equipment for kids to play all day.

In general, playgrounds cater for children in the 2-10 age range. It is difficult to categorise equipment and activities provided as suitable for a specific age range, as children of the same age vary greatly in their physical abilities and interests. Where possible a variety of graded challenges is provided in each playground rather than age appropriate equipment.

Some equipment can however be considered appropriate for a general age group such as spring rockers for younger children and climbing nets and flying foxes for older children.


Council is committed to ensure that open space accommodates the community as it grows and changes, and actively plans for facilities that meet the needs of current and future generations.

Demographic data predicts that we will see growth in the number of children ages 12-17 in a number of suburbs over the coming years. We know that kids in this age bracket have different recreational needs, and prefer equipment like skate parks, outdoor basketball, gyms, and “hang-out” spaces. We are actively planning different ways to meet the needs of this group either through repurposing existing assets or the strategic provision of upgraded and/or new facilities.

In 20/21 we are developing a Master Plan for the construction of a youth precinct at Seymour Shaw, Miranda, to provide informal recreational opportunities for all the community, including a skate park and action sports facilities.  Some of the facilities that we are considering at this location are a half basketball court, parkour and fitness equipment. 

We are also developing a Master Plan over the next three years for the design and construction of an Active Sports Youth Precinct in Engadine. Some of the facilities we are considering are a skate park, half basketball court and parkour zone.

In 20/21 we are investigating opportunities for improved recreation at Jenola Park Playing Fields by way of a multi-purpose reserve, to provide play opportunities for older children

For older children who like to skate, we have a great skate park at Marang Parklands (Greenhills) and a skate alley at Bonna Point Reserve, Kurnell, which is a plaza-style layout for free form skating.  We also have skate facilities at MenaiEngadine and Bundeena.

To see a list of all our skate parks, click here.

Our playground at Bonna Point Reserve, which was opened in March 2020, was designed to accommodate older children, with the biggest slides and rope climbing play equipment in the Shire.  Other playgrounds with climbing nets suitable for older children are Como Pleasure Grounds, Centenary Park, Miranda and Barden Ridge Reserve

There are more youth-oriented facilities in the works, so watch this space!



At Sutherland Shire Council, we want you and your children to enjoy our wonderful playgrounds without any slips or trips.  To ensure that each visit to our playgrounds is memorable for all the right reasons, please consider the following:

The best way to help your child avoid bumps and bruises in playgrounds is to actively supervise your child at play.

By staying close to your child, especially when they are trying something new or complicated, you can help keep playground visits safe and give your child the confidence to develop movement and social skills.

It’s also important to choose activities and equipment that suit your child’s skills and abilities.


Shade can come in many forms including natural shade, playground roof structures, shade from adjacent buildings, and built shade like pavilions and shade sails.

In 20/21 we will be installing shade structures in the following playgrounds:

  • Scribbins Park (Jinatong street) Miranda
  •  Bombora Avenue Reserve, Bundeena
  • 99R Acacia Road, Sutherland
  • Sunnyside Avenue Reserve, Caringbah 

A priority matrix is used for the provision of shade structures over existing play facilities. Factors considered as part of the matrix include sun exposure, level of use, construction feasibility, growth target zones, and community desire.

We encourage those visiting Council’s parks and reserves to be sun safe and take appropriate measures to reduce their risk of UV exposure.

This is a common question we are asked. Just as important as what kids are falling from, is what they’re falling onto. There are a range of softfall materials that are approved under Australian Standards for use under playgrounds including rubber, synthetic turf, play bark and play sand.

While it’s a favorite of many parents, rubber is costly, breaks down quickly, and is prone to vandalism. We tend to focus use of synthetic softfall materials at our regional playgrounds and those with an accessibility focus because these facilities offer the broadest range of play and are most heavily utilized. With so many playgrounds to enjoy, we simply cannot afford to install and maintain rubber at every playground.

We use play bark and play sand at many of our local playgrounds. These materials are highly effective when it comes to absorbing impact and preventing playground injuries. They are also environmentally friendly, economical, and easier to maintain. We also use play bark in areas that are prone to sun exposure because it stays cool over the hot summer months.


All playgrounds in the Shire are routinely inspected by Council for safety and general maintenance.  Our Operational staff report any damaged or vandalised equipment they come across during their inspections.

If you have concerns about the maintenance of a playground or identify a safety concern during your visit please report it to Council. 

Please make sure to include the playground location and provide details about the issue that you have identified.

Snap Send Solve

If you're out and about Council is now offering an extra way to Report It with the Snap Send Solve app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. You can find more information here.


We know that public toilets are an important service to the community, but due to financial constraints we are not able to construct public toilets at every park or playground. Council focuses on providing public amenities at our regional and district parks.

The National Public Toilet Map provides information on over 19,000 publicly available toilets across Australia, including accessibility, opening hours and facilities, such as showers & baby change.


While we try not to clutter our parks and playgrounds with too many prohibitive signs, if you see a regulatory sign that is missing or looking tired, please contact us and we will review your request.


Council does not fence all playgrounds. Fencing is appropriate where a playground is located immediately adjacent to a busy road, car park, permanent water body or any other activity considered hazardous to children and their carers.



While many people’s dogs are beloved members of their families, we recognise that not everyone feels the same way about our four-legged friends. Many children are afraid of dogs, and their safety and enjoyment is the highest priority at public playgrounds. It’s also against regulations for a dog to be brought to a playground. Under the Companion Animals Act 1998 - Section 14, dogs are not permitted within 10 metres of playgrounds or play equipment, whether or not on a leash.

All dogs in public places must be under the control of a competent person. Council is required by the State Government to enforce the laws concerning dogs, and Rangers may issue on-the-spot fines for infringements of the regulations listed above. Please contact Council if you wish to report dogs at playgrounds. 

With more than 600 parks and reserves throughout the Shire including six off-leash facilities, there are many places you can enjoy with your furry friends. For information about where you can and cannot take your dog, including our interactive dog off leash map, click here.


Almost one in five people in NSW live with a disability. Sutherland Shire Council is committed to creating safe and accessible places to ensure that increasing numbers of people of all ages, physical ability and interests are able to participate in recreation activities that will lead to improved health and well-being.

We are actively improving the accessibility of our parks and playgrounds. This includes the selection of more inclusive play equipment and the creation of accessible connections to and between different facilities.

In 2020/21 we will be constructing an all-abilities playground at Waratah Park, Sutherland  

The recent (2020) playground upgrade at Salmon Haul Bay in Cronulla includes synthetic turf, a wheelchair accessible carousel, basket swing, sensory and imaginative play, and accessible connections to picnic tables and the nearby disabled access toilet.

As funding becomes available, we will continue to upgrade facilities that promote inclusiveness in district and regional parks.


Council, in collaboration with the NSW Department of Health, has commenced installation of “no smoking” signage at selected playgrounds throughout the Shire.  Playgrounds have been selected on the basis of past complaints about smoking near playgrounds at those locations.

The new signage warns park visitors that smoking is banned within ten metres of children’s play equipment in outdoor public places in NSW.


Alcohol Free Zones and Alcohol Prohibited Areas are restrictions on the possession and consumption of alcohol in public places. They are established by Council and enforced by the police.

Follow this link to view a list of Council's Alcohol Free Zones and Alcohol Prohibited Areas.


Council uses a variety of funding sources to undertake works in our parks and reserves. These include general revenue from rates, developer contributions, Voluntary Planning Agreements (VPAs), and State and Federal grants.


Council’s playgrounds are provided for all members of the community to use, and it is not possible to book them for exclusive use by a particular group. 

Everyone is welcome to use the facilities on a first-come, first-served basis.

To view our guidelines for portable barbecues, please click here.

To see which playgrounds have barbecues installed, use our playground selector.


Council is committed to informing and engaging with the community about projects that affect them.

When renewing an existing service, Council does not generally undertake community engagement. For these projects we work towards delivering consistency through a standardised set of high quality design criteria and informing residents about the project through on-site signage and a letterbox drop in the immediate local area.

Where changes to the service are made, such as relocating an existing playground, upgrading the play equipment to cater to additional age groups or specific demographics, or creation of a new play facility, Council generally undertakes more in-depth engagement activities. These may include presentations at nearby schools, focus groups, community drop-in sessions, and surveys such as those that can regularly be found on Council’s website through “Join the Conversation”.

All of these forums help us to better understand the needs and expectations of the community. They are also a great way for residents to submit ideas and have their say in the services that Council provides. 

Join the Conversation with Council at our new public consultation website and keep up to date with key Council engagements via regular updates and final decision reports.



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