Council to consider spending £500,000 on outdoor gym equipment

A proposal for items including monkey bars, pull-up bars and a pummel horse, will be added to next year’s budget-setting process.

Aberdeen City Council announce plans to spend £500,000 on outdoor gym equipment for city parks LDRS

Aberdeen City Council could spend almost half a million pounds installing outdoor gym equipment across four parks.

A proposal for items including monkey bars, pull-up bars and a pummel horse, will be added to next year’s budget-setting process.

Initially, the equipment could make its way to Duthie Park as well as Hazlehead, Seaton and Westburn parks.

However, there are concerns that adding the new fitness facilities could have a “detrimental” impact on the upkeep of the city’s many play parks.

The idea came from a petition submitted to the council earlier this year which gathered 105 signatures.

Robert Gordon University lecturer Eduardo Galvis-Garcia asked the local authority to consider placing a callisthenics station in Duthie Park.

He believed the facility would allow residents to keep fit during the ongoing cost of living crisis as many can’t afford a gym membership.

Councillors were supportive of the petition and asked local authority officers to help bring the idea to life.

The matter recently went before the communities, housing and public protection committee.

Members’ opinion on the proposal was split, while council chiefs may need to be sold on the idea too.

Environmental boss Steven Shaw said: “We have this equipment installed at one or two places across the city.

“We’ve yet to be convinced they’re well used, but that might come.

“It is expensive and we have to keep that in mind.”

Shaw also said adding fitness equipment could be “detrimental” to the local authority’s ongoing play park refurbishment programme.

He revealed that the local authority’s teams are currently “stretched” and adding the outdoor gyms would heavily impact their workload.

For example, adding just one fitness facility would mean fewer inspections and reduce the time council staff spend on visits.

Park inspections are carried out on a weekly basis to a high standard and strict guidelines to ensure the spaces are accessible and safe.

They also help to ensure the council’s insurance and show the local authority is doing all it can to safeguard youngsters.

Councillor Gordon Graham backed the proposal.

He told the chamber he is a member of the Heathryfold Park group, which has added three pieces of outdoor gym equipment there.

“They are used quite a lot and we could do with some more,” he remarked.

But, he asked if the amount of kit could be cut back to ensure more parks could benefit.

He was told the city’s largest parks would be considered first as a “starting point”, but it could be expanded on in the future.

Meanwhile, a sceptical Sandra Macdonald asked if this was really the best way to spend the massive sum.

“I’m concerned that our swings and roundabouts might suffer,” she said.

“I’m just not sure that’s where we should be putting our energy and our funding going forward.”

However, the committee agreed to add the proposal to the budget setting process.

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