The Riga City Council's Central Administration's Territorial Improvement Board (TLP) has started annual playground safety inspections to assess and prevent risks of injury to children. In addition, 13 playgrounds will be renovated in the city this year.
Inspections are carried out to determine the overall safety level of the play equipment and playgrounds, in accordance with the Cabinet of Ministers' regulations*. The functionality and stability of the equipment is also checked, in particular to detect damage and defects due to deterioration of property, various types of wear and tear, long-term structural problems, changes in the safety level of the equipment. The risk of injury to children is assessed.
Annual inspections and risk assessments are carried out by certified inspectors, who issue an opinion on each site. After receiving the opinions, the TLP is obliged to eliminate risks to children's health and safety. Where municipal gaming facilities are located on municipally-owned land, the gaming facilities are repaired and refurbished, with major refurbishment works planned.
58 of the 113 playgrounds managed by TLP were once installed on plots of land that became the private property of apartment building owners as a result of privatisation. This means that the municipality owns the gaming facilities - but private landowners own the land.
In municipal playgrounds on private land, annual inspections result in the dismantling of elements deemed dangerous. The municipality cannot install new equipment at these sites because the law** prevents the municipality from investing in the improvement of privately owned land. This means that this year, dangerous play equipment in the yards of some apartment blocks will also be dismantled.
To date, TLP has posted notices of planned dismantling works at 18 addresses. This list of addresses can be found at www.riga.lv/rotallaukumi.
In the Riga Development Programme 2022-2027 one of the indicators to be achieved is the availability of playgrounds within 500 metres of the homes of 75% of the inhabitants of densely populated neighbourhoods (over 50 inhabitants per hectare). The TLP therefore plans to build new playgrounds on municipal land in densely populated neighbourhoods in the coming years.
This year the municipality plans to renovate 13 playgrounds - 6 playgrounds outside parks and educational institutions, a playground in Bastejkalns park, and 5-6 playgrounds near pre-school educational institutions. A new recreation area will also be built, with play areas for children of different ages. 6 playgrounds will also be resurfaced and 8 will have new lighting.
This year, 20 new playground projects will be developed outside parks, as well as a project to renovate the playground in Viesturdārzs. These projects are expected to be implemented next year.
New playgrounds will also be built on the basis of participatory budget project ideas submitted and supported by citizens. This year the construction of a playground in the Brasa neighbourhood will take place, as well as the design of five playgrounds supported by the participatory budget competition of 2022.
The Riga Municipality owns a total of 341 playgrounds - 180 at educational institutions, 43 in parks, squares and recreational areas by the water, and 113 elsewhere in the city.
Information was prepared by: Edīte Matuseviča, Project Coordinator at External Communication Division of Riga City Council Communication Department, email: email@example.com
* Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 18 of 7 January 2020 "Safety Regulations for Playgrounds and Recreation Grounds"
** Law on prevention of embezzlement of public funds and property