Popular La Balsa Park playground open in time for Easter
  • Thursday 05 April 2012

Sunshine Coast Council has acted quickly to ensure local families and visitors flocking to soak up the great weather at beautiful La Balsa Park this weekend will also be able to enjoy the playground.

The popular playground in the Buddina park was closed and cordoned off on Tuesday following council’s identification of a crack in a major branch of a large Cotton tree (Hibiscus tiliaceus).

This tree is located inside the playground area and overhangs the play equipment.

Parks and Gardens Manager, Mark Presswell said council was making every effort to retain the 50 year old specimen for as long as it was feasible to do so.

"After the discovery of the crack, council immediately closed the playground and conducted a full investigation of the issues," Mr Presswell said.

"Parks and Gardens officers decided the only feasible course of action was to prune the cracked limb back to the trunk of the tree.

"Some weight-reduction pruning will also be undertaken on the remaining portion to counteract the resulting imbalance."

These works – which will take around four hours to complete – started at 11am this morning, to enable the playground to be re-opened in time for the Easter holidays.

Mr Presswell said this was only a short-term management option as removal of a limb of this size from a Cotton tree would have an impact on the structure of the tree and significantly reduce its life expectancy.

"Unfortunately as the limb is already cracked and overhanging a playground, there are no other options available for its safe management," he said.

"We also plan to plant a replacement Cotton tree adjacent to the existing specimen as soon as possible.

"This is so the new tree can establish in readiness to take the place of the existing tree when it is determined the specimen is no longer viable. This way the playground will continue to benefit from having a great shade canopy.

"At this stage it is not known how long the existing Cotton tree will be able to remain following removal of this limb. Council officers will continue to closely monitor the tree."