‘Natural is best’ for kids

• Stephanie Coats with daughters Claudia and Esther at Riverside Gardens playground. Photo by Jeremy Dixon

• Stephanie Coats with daughters Claudia and Esther at Riverside Gardens playground. Photo by Jeremy Dixon

NEW Bayswater councillor Stephanie Coates wants plastic playgrounds replaced with nature-style play areas.

The 39-year-old mother of three says organic play areas—using mulch, timber and sensory areas—are more stimulating and interactive for kids.

“When plastic playgrounds come to the end of their life I’d like to see council replace them with nature areas,” she says.

“They have done this very successfully at Yokine in Stirling; I’d like to see it done in Baysy on a smaller scale. It is expensive, but we are the garden city and I think we should honour that title.”

Stirling’s $3.2 million playspace in Yokine caters for children of all ages and abilities in a natural setting.

Cr Coates says she wants Bayswater to be a great place to raise kids.

Juggles

She juggles three under-10 kids, council duties and a weekend job as an occupational therapist treating over-65s at Royal Perth Hospital.

“I have experience working with the elderly at the hospital, so I’d like to be involved in the council’s redesign of the Mertome retirement village,” she says.

“I’m also keen in activating laneways with cafes, similar to Melbourne, and getting a regular street festival going in Bayswater—we haven’t had one in ages.

“It can be difficult juggling all my commitments, but so far my husband has been very understanding.”

A former secretary of St Columbus primary school P&C and committee member of Bayswater playgroup, Cr Coates says she ran for council to broaden her contribution to the community.

“I’m going to vote independently and not be part of any faction,” says the youngest member of council.

“I don’t owe anyone anything. I think it’s great that council now has a young, working mother in its ranks.”

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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