Coroner Michael Holmes pushes for warning signs in Creeklands area after drowning in Curtis Park, Armidale

Tragedy: Police and paramedics at the scene of the drowning in the Creeklands area, in Armidale, on September 11, 2016. Photo: Matt Bedford

Tragedy: Police and paramedics at the scene of the drowning in the Creeklands area, in Armidale, on September 11, 2016. Photo: Matt Bedford

See also: Young girl chased duck before drowning, inquest told

A CORONER has urged council to install warning signs at a creek running through a park following the drowning death of a young girl, last year.

Coroner Michael Holmes says it’s a “pressing” issue that Armidale Regional Council install signs warning the public of the potential danger at the Creeklands area, in particular, Curtis Park.

Mr Holmes made the comments in Armidale Coroner’s Court as he examines the death of the three-year-old Bangladeshi girl who drowned in September, 2016, after falling into the creek.

“Dangerous water signs … I would have thought they could be a good interim measure,” he told council representatives in court, including Armidale Regional Council Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Dennis.

“The most pressing, I believe, is signage in that area, even a general sign to parents that it is your responsibility to supervise your children.”

The most pressing, I believe, is signage in that area, even a general sign to parents that it is your responsibility to supervise your children.

Coroner Michael Holmes

Mr Holmes said he would make formal recommendations as part of the inquest but interim measures could be undertaken by council in the meantime.

"The creek is going to be there and we can't ignore it,” he said.

Mr Dennis told the inquest "council will be supportive of that", and said “getting signage in as an interim measure would be sensible", especially with 200 refugees slated to move to the city next year.

The inquest was told council is also considering a whole new re-design for a playground and park in Armidale.

He said council had resolved to create a full masterplan for a super-playground, similar to Tamworth.

“It may be in areas well away from the Creeklands, maybe Guyra or the Arboretum,” Mr Dennis said.

It may be in areas well away from the Creeklands, maybe Guyra or the Arboretum.

Armidale Regional Council CEO Peter Dennis

He said community and public safety was paramount but any plan needed to take into account “hydrology” issues and “contaminated land”.

“This matter is very complex and the intention is to undertake a masterplan for the whole Creeklands,” he said.

Council has already called for public feedback, with the inquest hearing a note had been sent out to residents, attached to their rates notices.

Council has committed $80,000 towards the masterplan project and the public consultation is expected to run for 12 to 18 months.

During the inquest, council’s program leader for parks and facilities, Richard Moresley, said he heard about the young girl’s death on the Sunday and went to work on the Monday morning to look into any complaints or issues council might have received about the Creeklands area.

“I took it upon myself to look through the files and see what I could find,” he told the inquest.

I took it upon myself to look through the files and see what I could find.

Armidale Regional Council Program Leader for Parks and Facilities Richard Moresley

He said he couldn’t find anything and made a statement to police before council discovered a small number of complaints about the area that had been lodged previously. 

Mr Moresley said the discovery “prompted the second statement”.