SPECIAL REPORT: Dangerous Playgrounds Pt.2

Published: Nov. 2, 2011 at 9:34 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 3, 2011 at 3:01 AM HST
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Gary Cabato Director of Parks and Recreation
Gary Cabato Director of Parks and Recreation

By Tannya Joaquin - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - From the North Shore to East Oahu, many playgrounds has become a "black eye" for the city and concern for parents.

We found everything from cracked slides to missing safety barriers. I asked the city point blank why our children are playing on playgrounds with glaring dangers.

"That's a big hazard right there that asphalt."

Certified playground inspector Dave Short pointed out all the dangers at Palolo Valley District Park.

"That's a hazard"

And the issues we found there are widespread.

We uncovered safety hazards at all seven playgrounds we visited across Oahu.

Take Kamiloiki. Within the past three months, this 20 inch hole showed up on the slide.

"I've seen one child actually get his leg stuck in the slide," says Jon Bjorkhom father of two.

A tip on Facebook alerted us to another hazard at Wailae Iki Park. A mom says "one of the little boys got a bad scrape there the other day."

That's where we found this hole in the platform that measures 9 by 7 inches.

Playground vendor Mike McFarlane says it's a shame to see the crumbling coating-- at petrie park.

"As the company that put it in, we're saddened. We would like it to stay safe," said McFarlane. "There are some playgrounds out there that are not safe and I think that anyone you talk to will acknowledge that."

"Do you think the City is doing enough to address these concerns, maintain our playgrounds? Parks department is doing enough to maintain our playground in a safe manner," said Gary Cabato Director of Parks and Recreation.

Georgene Wakui a City Safety Specialist says, "Majority are in fair and useable condition. Basically we're looking for anything that can cause life threatening or debilitating injury to our children. "

But, after looking at pictures of the Kamiloiki hole, the city's lone inspector said that somehow slipped through the cracks.

"Based on what you showed me, that definitely needs to be removed."

The slide will likely be boarded up like this one at keehi lagoon for a while.

As for the hole at Waialae Iki?

Two days after I asked the city about it, the hazard was covered with plywood and surrounded with caution tape.

Parks and Recreation Director Gary Cabato says changes are coming.

"I do have a priority list of 11 apparatus we took out we're going to replace."

The city's putting up stainless steel sets in Nanakuli to replace rundown equipment in places like Palolo, and salvaging parts for repairs to other playgrounds when possible.

But some neighborhoods aren't willing to wait. Waialae elementary is helping to make needed repairs at Petrie park and Koko Head Elementary may do the same with its graffiti-ridden equipment.

Niu Valley is now raising money on its own to install its first playground. They can run 150 to 180 thousand dollars.

As for the crumbling conditions, parents say they won't be satisfied until every hazard is repaired or removed.

"I would hope someone watches this and says hey this isn't acceptable for my children."

The problems we spotted aren't the only ones.

To report something wrong at your playground call the Parks and Recreation Directors office at 768-3001.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.