Boat-free zone for swimming, new playground will restore family fun to Mannum's Mary Ann Reserve

Families with young children have nowhere to swim at Mannum any more, Mid Murray councillors have heard.

Recent works on the riverbank at Mary Ann Reserve had taken away the only place children could paddle in the shallows, local resident Bindi Barker told councillors at a meeting on Tuesday.

Boats and jetskis were currently able to park wherever they liked, she said, so there was nowhere left for people to swim safely.

As recently as Monday, when the temperature reached the mid-30s, children had been climbing over mooring ropes and swimming in between houseboats, she said.

"At the moment there's no signs to say where jetskis or houseboats or speedboats are able to go," she said.

Children had cut themselves on the mesh holding the riverbank in place, another resident, Paul Smith, said.

Ms Barker added that the removal of sandy patches along the bank had also left toddlers with nowhere to splash about.

"It's just a drop straight into the river, so families with young children can no longer let their children paddle in the shallow water and play in the sand," she said.

"There's a bit of dirt down by the grassed area; children have been digging in that 'cause they've got nowhere to play."

Mayor Dave Burgess said signs along the riverfront, indicating where boats could and could not park, had been removed during the recent works and would soon go back up.

A no-boating zone would apply near the public toilets.

The problem of a paddling area would be harder to solve, he said, as environmental regulations banned the use of sand to create an artificial beach.

"There's not a lot of options that we're allowed to use to reclaim the bank," Mr Burgess said.

"It had those little curves because it got eroded, and it was going to keep eroding ... that was the gist behind the project."

Perhaps the council could install a splash play area at the reserve instead, he said: a shallow pool, a fountain or something.

In the meantime, he suggested swimmers unhappy with Mary Ann Reserve try Herman Gass Reserve, upstream of Mannum Caravan Park.

Earlier in the meeting, councillors signed off on the purchase of new play equipment for the reserve, including a pretend boat, trampolines, balance beams and a digger.

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