Most of the equipment in public playgrounds around Haifa is missing, damaged or worn out and much of what is there is unsafe for the children using it, according to a survey by the Hebrew weekly Yediot Haifa. And those playgrounds that do have well-maintained and safe equipment tend to be contained to the wealthier neighborhoods on the higher slopes of Mount Carmel.
According to the report, in some playgrounds swings, slides and climbing frames have been removed by the city after being vandalized or accidentally damaged, but were not replaced by any other equipment, leaving dangerous holes in the ground and broken benches along the paths. The report said that on the upper slopes of the Carmel there are numerous new, well-maintained playgrounds, with the most impressive of them all being Gan Ha'em on Sderot Hanassi. But the quality and number of playgrounds deteriorates dramatically further down the Carmel.
A municipal spokesman said the city is spending "tens of millions of shekels" on rehabilitating playgrounds and has checked thousands of pieces of playground equipment in recent years, with those found to be unsafe being removed immediately. The spokesman added that even now some 200 items of playground equipment are being removed, and the city has begun replacing them with new equipment, starting with those playgrounds from which the most equipment was taken. As part of the upgrading, the playgrounds are also getting new safety flooring. "To our sorrow, part of the new equipment has already been damaged by acts of vandalism, and these acts are taking place in all neighborhoods," the spokesman noted.