lifestyle

Hosting a kids party in the park is about to get REALLY expensive.

Yay! A party. But  soon you might have to pay…

BY BERN MORLEY

The best things in life are free right? Well, no. Especially if one local council in Brisbane gets their way. The simple act of throwing a party in your local park, is about to get a whole lot more complicated. And expensive.

Under a controversial move, Brisbane City Council are suggesting the simple act of throwing a children’s birthday party at your local park  attracts a substantial fee. Plus, parents being fined close to $6,000 for failing to obtain a permit in the allotted time.

Council’s Parks, Environment and Sustainability boss Cr Matthew Bourke said “It would only be larger events, such as where jumping castles may be hired, food sold or damage caused to the park”, which would require paid permits and could attract fines.

I for one, though, am incensed by any reason that may see parents shy away from holding birthday parties for their children in their local park.

Since the early days of the ‘Life. Be in it.’ campaign, we have been encouraged to get off our collective butts and take part in the great outdoors – and all of a sudden – we might have to pay for the privilege?

And if there is less access to the humble park party, will the trend in over-the-top turn into an over the top extravaganza? Suddenly what was once a simple gathering, (backyard, game of pass the parcel, party pies) has turned into a parental pissing contest with parents trying to outdo each and impress their counterparts.

The one thing they seem to be forgetting however, is that it’s not about impressing other adults, it’s about the children. And those children having simple, unadulterated FUN.

Believe it or not,  for a child to have an enjoyable party, they don’t need to swim with the dolphins (yes, I can honestly say that I’ve seen an entire class invited to do this) or be picked up in a limo (again, yes – for real) to be flown to a neighbouring state to see Justin Bieber in concert (I so wish that wasn’t true).

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No. All a child needs is to see their mates, eat some food that is preferably high in sugar and low in nutrition, run around, fall down and generally, have a good time.

The thing is, residents in any council catchment are already paying – directly or indirectly – through council rates, for the care and maintenance of their local park and bush land.

And please, don’t get me wrong, I understand that there is a need for some kind of reservation process, especially if more than one group of 50 people are going to descend upon a park simultaneously.

To keep things fair, I have no issue with the council charging a (modest) fee to book the park on a particular day for a particular time. But to charge excess fees and then potentially fine the living daylights out of them, is nothing but simple and straight up, money grubbing.

I worry that if the council starts to make it difficult for everyday families, we will lose the beautiful yet simple tradition that is the good old Aussie birthday party in the park.

Is this bureaucracy gone mad? Will it deter the everyday ‘Mum and Dad’ from holding a party for their children in their local park? And most importantly, when will the madness of the over-the-top children’s birthday party end?

What do you think of the Council’s proposal? Would you be OK with paying to host a party in the park?

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