SAFETY PARAMOUNT: Lismore Preschool Kindergarten director Alex Hughes stands in the hazardous sandpit being ripped up next week to ensure the safety of children under her care, including (from left) Adam McKenzie, Jarvis Ullrich, Ava Coombes and Matteo Vecchiett.
SAFETY PARAMOUNT: Lismore Preschool Kindergarten director Alex Hughes stands in the hazardous sandpit being ripped up next week to ensure the safety of children under her care, including (from left) Adam McKenzie, Jarvis Ullrich, Ava Coombes and Matteo Vecchiett. Jacklyn Wagner

Drowning hazard to go

LISMORE Preschool Kindergarten may invite advertisers to put their names on billboards within the facility as it works to deal with the cost of removing a drowning hazard created by a footpath built by Lismore City Council.

Preschool director Alex Hughes said the footpath, installed about two years ago, intensified flooding issues around what was, until recently, the preschool’s sandpit and turning it into a drowning hazard every time it rained heavily.

The water in the concrete-lined pit would quickly turn stagnant and would have to be pumped out.

Ms Hughes wanted the council to contribute to the removal of the old sandpit, the construction of the new shade structure and the replacement of the fence – because the council owns the land the preschool is built on and because the council’s footpath had forced the preschool to move the sandpit.

However, her pleas went unanswered at this year’s council budget meeting, partly because she had still been waiting for a quote on the sandpit work and partly because councillors were wrestling with the biggest deficit in Lismore’s history.

The preschool is having the old concrete sandpit ripped up and replaced with soil over next week’s school break. However, it still needs the new shade structure. It also needs to replace the fence around the preschool.

With the council out of the picture funding-wise, the preschool community is now looking at innovative ways to raise cash for the work.

That’s where the billboard idea comes in.

Ms Hughes said she had not yet approached any companies, but the preschool would consider putting up an advertising sign publicly crediting a sponsor or sponsors that provided funds needed for the fence and/or new shade structure.

“I’ve been trying to get a new fence for as long as I’ve been here (about 10 years), and the previous director was trying to get it before me,” she said.

Ms Hughes said the new fence was needed to keep trespassers and vandals out at night and on weekends.

The preschool, in Brewster Street, has had some surprising uninvited guests.

“We’ve had families coming in (on weekends) to have picnics,” she said.

Ms Hughes said the preschool had done a lot of capital works, such as the new sandpit, new turf and a new roof, thanks to the support of the community and of parents, such as Mick Mackney, who installed the new roof.



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