An Australian mother has beaten her local authority after council officials destroyed a series of children’s BMX cross jumps in a community park.
On Everything Sutherland Shire’s Facebook page on Thursday, the Sydney mother of two wondered why stay-at-home orders didn’t apply to the council workers who were removing the bike jumps.
Sydney is currently under a strict lockdown requiring residents not to leave their homes unless there is an essential reason.
A local council caught municipal workers vandalizing the bike in Miranda Park on Thursday morning (pictured)
Local residents asked if the work was ‘essential’ enough to do during the lockdown
Outraged parents have criticized Sutherland Shire Council, in southern Sydney, for banning their children’s homemade bike jumps (pictured above)
Sutherland Shire Council, I’m not sure destroying bike jumps in Miranda Park this morning is an essential service. We are in lockdown,” she wrote.
Her post sparked a deluge of comments from locals who agreed and also asked why they should be removed in the first place.
“Get away from the kids’ backs they have enough to deal with,” said one person, and the extra workers would be better deployed to clean up Sutherland’s streets.
“Children shouldn’t have fun?” asked another.
“Children are so brave and doing their best right now. No school, friends, sports, art … very bad decision by the council,” a third added.
Sutherland Council said in 2020 they would remove homemade bicycle jumps in local parks because they were unsafe and harmful to the environment.
The bike paths have become popular with local children during lockdowns as one of their only activities unaffected by restrictions.
The municipality has issued a letterbox brochure (pictured above) warning local residents that the unauthorized bicycle jumps built on municipal reserves would be filled in and removed
Locals commenting on the removal of the bike jumps said it was one of the few outdoor activities kids could enjoy under the current restrictions
Local mom Karen Ward launched an online petition to preserve the bike jumps last year, which has received more than 2,400 signatures.
The petition was sparked after Sutherland Shire Council, in southern Sydney, distributed letterbox pamphlets warning residents that the bike jumps to be made at local reserves and parks would be flattened.
The council said the jumps “damage our natural environment”, “impacted park amenities” and “created hazards that pose a risk to public safety”.
Ms Ward’s petition reads: ‘Kids are constantly criticized for being always on screen, doing nothing and being lazy. Not these kids.’
“We need to encourage kids to be outside, use their brains, work together and get physical,” she explained.
She also said taxpayers’ money would be better spent elsewhere.
‘Why don’t you talk to the young people and support their activities on the largely unused municipal land,’ she asked.
The Sutherland Council’s rehabilitation work will remove jumps, fill holes and use fencing and logs to block access to the tracks.
Riders have been encouraged to use community bike paths and trails built by the council instead.
Parents said the council only listened to a vocal minority and the bike jumps encouraged children to interact and play outside (file image cyclist pictured)
Sutherland Shire Council told Daily Mail Australia the bike jumps posed an urgent risk to public safety and there were other locations for children to cycle in the area.
‘[We are] working to repair significant damage to one of our most beloved and widely used community resources, Miranda Park, caused by the construction of unauthorized bicycle jumps,” a spokesperson said.
‘These works are prompted by major concerns from local residents about the safety risk of unauthorized bicycle jump constructions, as well as the encroachment of endangered native vegetation.’
The spokesman said the work being carried out will consist of removing rubbish, filling holes and removing the bicycle jumps that have been assessed as unsafe.
“These works were aimed at addressing the immediate threat to public safety. Following further collaboration with the surrounding community, additional work is planned to address damage to the endangered bushland.”
Local families have launched a petition calling on the municipality to leave the bike jumps as they are and allow children to continue to build and work together (file image bike shown)