Friday 5 March 2010

Cairns Councillor Forsyth rescues baby from 'unsafe' playground

Cairns Regional Councillor Diane Forsyth says her rescue of a 15-month-old baby that had made its way onto the busy Esplanade Parade this morning, showed that there is not sufficient barriers in place for young unsupervised children.

Forysth says that the construction of the planned bike-path will provide an additional barrier from the road, and would prevent potentially tragic incidents.

"I could not believe my eyes when I saw a baby run onto the road from Muddy’s Playground this morning," Di Forsyth said. "The baby was very distressed and disoriented. I tooted the car horn repeatedly and tried to attract attention for someone to notice the little girl on the road," Forsyth said.

Forsyth said that the noise of the car horn scared the baby and she then sat down in the middle of the road, crying and obviously lost.

"I manoeuvred my car to protect the baby from oncoming traffic, and leapt out to pick her up," Diane Forsyth said. "A woman approached and said she knew where the mother was and took the baby to her."

“I was quite shaken by the incident,” Forsyth said. “I went to drive away, but decided I wanted to see how such a young baby could get onto a busy road like the Esplanade at 11 am. I reassured the mother and made sure the baby was OK before checking on how such a near tragedy could happen."

Forsyth said she talked with some of the parents and others that were in the area to identify what is needed to make it safer for children to play at the popular Esplanade children's playground.

"They suggested that a fence needs to be erected along the footpath, as this was the second episode of a child running onto the road recently, they told me," Councillor Diane Forsyth said. "There have also been near misses of children running onto the current cycle and pathway, that crosses nearby the playground."

Forsyth, who has been a vocal advocate for the cycle path network to be completed, says a new dedicated bike-path can’t come along soon enough.

"The new bike-path will be fenced and will stop access to the roadway from the playground," Forsyth says. "The new bike-path will take commuter cyclists off the current pathway [along the Esplanade parklands] and away from little children, making it safer for them to play there."

When the Councillor questioned the child's mother, she was noticeably upset. "She was very remorseful and sorry about what happened," Forsyth said. "I just reassured her that she was now safe and was glad to be there when she ran onto the road."

"I know these things can happen but I ask that all parents keep an eye on their children," Di Forsyth said.

A senior Council manager criticised Forsyth for telling her story publicly today, saying that Council "will only attract bad publicity" from the incident.

"I was questioned why I took the story public, however this is a good opportunity to talk about a serious problem, and fix it," Forsyth told CairnsBlog.

Council Works officers inspected the area this afternoon, to see what could be done to protect the area from wandering children.

"Until the dedicated bike path with fencing is constructed, I will request a temporary fence be erected in the area,” Diane Forsyth said.


Jet Star said...

Geez Mike, did you get Captain Cook from Sheridan street to take that first photo. Or was it from the plane when you were coming in to land at our beautiful privatised airport?

CBD Warrior said...

More self-promotion by our councillors.

This problem has been apparent since KB first built this playground for his daughter. I predict nothing will be done about it unless/until someone is injured or killed.

And they could easily get injured by the godawful food served at Muddy's cafe.

KitchenSlut said...

As someone who lives opposite this area and has had numerous concerns ignored over many years and councillors I find the comments of Di Forsayth a lamentable ignorant joke.

The justification of the entirely unecessary cycle for the purpose of safety just sickens me! Shouldn't the cycleway be justified on its own merits which is almost impossible for any intelligent person?

The cycleway replicates a current path a few metres away for no obvious reason. Do you have a clue?

My own funniest episode was advising council that an information sign in an inapproriate location was a safety hazard. Council officers suupported by then Councillor Gill inspected and disagreed. Less than a week later the 'information' sign was removed by council workers and replaced with a safety warning sign for pedestrians just as had been advised!

Hey Di? Have you considered consulting residents? Wasn't that your policy?