A man in high vis plants a tree next to a playground.
FUTURE SHADE:  Wagga Wagga City Council Parks & Recreation Assets Officer Rob Owers plants a tree near the playground at Jack Skeers Park in Lake Albert.

Parks & Recreation

Branching out the shade in local playgrounds

Published: 02 Jun 2023 9:30am

Advanced tree planting is currently underway at 100 playgrounds across Wagga Wagga and its surrounding villages to help increase the amount of shade available in the future.

This week, and in the coming weeks, approximately 290 trees are being planted in playgrounds throughout the city, and in rural villages such as Galore, Brookdale, Tarcutta, and Mangoplah.

A playground with newly planted trees around the perimeter.
SUNSAFE PLAYGROUNDS: The playground in Galore was one of the 100 playgrounds in the Wagga Wagga City Council area to receive new trees as part of the roll out of future shade trees in the region.

Wagga Wagga City Council Works & Playground Officer John Conlan said now is the time to plant the trees.

“The autumn months are a good time to plant trees as they have more chance of adapting to their new location during the cooler weather,” Mr Conlan said.

“Advanced deciduous and native trees (trees that are already 2 – 4 metres tall) are being planted so they will offer shade sooner (in 5 – 10 years).

“Deciduous trees are being predominately planted as they provide shade during the warmer months and allow sunlight to penetrate during the cooler months.

“Some playgrounds will have native trees planted where it best suits the existing environment.”

Prompted by Council’s review of its Playground Strategy 2016 – 2036, an audit of playgrounds in the region was conducted in March 2022 to determine if the shade provided was adequate for sun-safety.

The Cancer Council was consulted during the investigation who advised the minimum amount of shade over playgrounds should be 40%, with the ideal amount being 80% coverage.

A digger assists planting of trees around a playground.
PLANTING TIME: local contractors were engaged to assist with the planting of the trees throughout Wagga Wagga and rural villages in the region.

The report of the findings from the audit presented at an Ordinary Meeting of Council on 22 August 2022 found many playgrounds in the area were far off the benchmark of 80% shade coverage.

To address this issue more trees are being planted in all playgrounds, with shade sails to be installed in the larger playgrounds in the region over the next six years.

The planting of trees in all the playgrounds in the Local Government Area is a step toward having more shade for playground users and carers in the future.

To view Council’s Playground Strategy 2016 – 2036, visit wagga.nsw.gov.au/communityplans