Seats swing into headlines

The new swing-seat table in Sassafras Village Green Park. Picture: CATHY RONALDS.

By Taylah Eastwell

A controversial seating arrangement in a Sassafras park has found itself swinging in and out of media headlines.

The new table, installed at Sassafras Village Green Park, has swing-style seats attached to the overhead shelter.

The ordeal began when a Sassafras woman called 3AW on Wednesday 19 May to express her concern over the new set-up.

“We are a tourist town, we get a lot of people coming up from all ages. I can just see people flipping off backwards, sitting there eating and swinging at the same time,” the woman told 3AW.

“It was just a really interesting concept.

“I think kids are definitely going to hurt themselves,” the woman said.

The seats were implemented by Yarra Ranges Council as part of its temporary support for additional outdoor dining across the shire.

Yarra Ranges Council Director of Environment and Infrastructure, Mark Varmalis said council received feedback from Sassafras business owners and township groups that there was a need for additional seating in the tourist town.

“We opted for the more creative design for these temporary seats, to offer an interesting place for community members and visitors to meet, eat and play,” Mr Varmalis said.

“We have already had positive feedback from visitors to the Village Green about the seats, particularly about having more seating available in the green and the creative design elements such as the swinging seats,” he said.

Mr Varmalis saisd the seating unit is relocatable but has a “large ballast weight” to avoid any risk to the structure tipping, with all chains and joins also enclosed to avoid injury.

“We would recommend that anyone using the seats use them responsibly and sensibly, and supervise any children in their care using the seats.

The seats are temporary and will be reviewed, with community feedback to be considered.

Outdoor dining support has taken different forms in different regions across the Ranges, with new parklets created in the Yarra Valley and Dandenongs with seating and tables for people to enjoy food and coffee from local businesses. The temporary set-ups are an attempt to ease congestion at local cafes during peak tourism periods.