Maribyrnong mayor steps in to be king of swings

Katie Ewing (Damjan Janevski) 243798_04

Goya Dmytryshchak

Maribyrnong mayor Michael Clarke has criticised council officers for ordering that children’s swings be pulled down in a Seddon street.

It follows Star Weekly’s story about residents being upset at being ordered to remove swings from street trees on nature strips in Hobbs Street.

As reported, resident Katie Ewing said the swings attracted locals with their children and had been there for years.

“Some person … has made a vexatious complaint about the swings in the street trees in Hobbs Street and so they’re [council] going to every property and giving them a notice to remove the swings,” she had said.

“The street’s really well known for it. People come and walk their kids on the street because they know it as ‘the street with swings’.”

Cr Clarke told Star Weekly he would intervene and there was “absolutely” every chance the swings could stay despite officers’ orders.

“That’s really dumb stuff – you get vigilant officers [saying] ‘yes, pull down the swings’ – well, yeah, hold on, why,” he said.

“Are they damaging the trees? Well, no, not really.

“Have they been there for years? Yes, in fact, they have.

“So, we’re looking at this.

“We’re looking at it from a risk perspective in the very first instance but we’re going to come up with a policy.”

Ms Ewing said she welcomed Cr Clarke stepping in to save the swings.

“I think that’s a great outcome but it’s a real shame that you have to take alternative steps before you get heard by the council about these sorts of things,” she said.

“But I think it’s great. If that’s the outcome then that’s hugely positive.

“They’ve been there for 10 years. My daughter’s 13 and we put it up when she was three.”