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Ditching the TV for street fun: Waverley Council’s Sunday street closure met with success

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Where parents see children glued to their TV screens not socially engaging with others, children see themselves having fun playing online with hundreds of other children around Australia. Sadly, as much as children won’t admit it, sitting inside playing video games won’t help them improve their body functionality like sports will, or improve their real life communication skills with other children.

Waverley Council mayor Paula Masselos is leading the charge in an effort for kids to ditch the TV and play outdoors with friends and neighbours as Waverley implements a 6-month street close trial.

Cr Masselos has approved a 6-month trial to close 4 Waverley streets to cars on Sunday afternoons, in a bid for children to engage in more outdoor activities.

“People are very excited by this. They see it as important because it brings the community together,” Cr Masselos said. “It’s about reclaiming the streets, and bringing them back to the people.”

After the trials already successful results, Cr Masselos has informed that the council has now released applications for other Waverley streets to apply to partake in the rewarding street play initiative. 

Kids enjoying the new 6-month trial which closes 4 Waverley streets to cars on Sunday afternoons, allowing kids to engage in more outdoor activities. Photo: Sydney morning Herald – JAMES ALCOCK

Prior to Cr Masselos appointed as mayor, locals from Cox Avenue had unsuccessfully applied to the council for permission to hold street parties. They went ahead anyway, said local resident Alex Unsworth to the Sydney Morning Herald. Residents bought their own high-vis vests, a ‘road closed’ sign and red traffic cones, and learned how to politely usher cars in and out of the area.

“You’ve not been allowed to close the street for anything until now,” Mr Unsworth said.

“We didn’t have portable toilets, and an emergency evacuation plan, all that sort of stuff. So we kept on complaining and complaining. The reason we closed the street was that kids were playing and it was the only way to make it safe was to block traffic with the road closure sign,” Mr Unsworth said. Residents didn’t have insurance, and the pilot program by Waverley will provide that.

Local parents are hoping that this new initiative will help make kids more social and engage with others, without being in the comfort of their own homes.

“It’s a return to the old ways, the good ways, the civility, courtesies, and the children playing,” one resident said.

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