'Reserved' sign at Aussie park stirs debate - but is it right?

The act has been described as an "interesting tactic".

A woman who posted a photo of an informal picnic table reservation has stirred a debate about the act at public parks.

Sharing the snap captioned: "Thoughts on reserving at public parks?", the Redditor showed members of the a Brisbane community group the controversial sign written in chalk on the concrete pavement of a covered picnic area that reads: "Reserved tonight 5.00 to 9.00 17-1-23".

While using chalk to informally reserve tables is something a bit unconventional, the practice of informally reserving picnic tables is usually a point of frustration for many park-goers across the country and abroad.

Reserved sign in chalk at Brisbane park
A photo shared on Reddit has sparked a debate over the practice of unofficially reserving public spaces such as picnic tables. Source: Reddit

'Do it how it should be done'

"Similar thing happened at one of the parks at Gold Coast near the beach. We had arrived at the park around 4:30-5am during Christmas and there was a rock holding onto a sign saying reserved, just removed it and sat at the table," one member shared. "They came at 11am and confronted us saying it was reserved, and we just told them should come early like every family that was there."

"Pretty sure that message on the concrete would motivate others to sit there when they otherwise wouldn't. I know I would," someone else chimed, while other Redditors shared how they go about reserving these coveted spots.

"Do it how it should be done - get there two hours earlier than you need and put your stuff over what you require and stay there until your party turns up. Chalk is an interesting tactic though," another Redditor commented.

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What council rules say

Many members of the group argued that use of public facilities such as picnic tables is on a first come, first served basis and therefore, cannot be reserved at all. They also pointed out that many councils have online booking facilities to reserve certain areas of parks for functions such as birthday parties.

According to the Brisbane City Council, it is possible to make park bookings for functions or events for certain sites, which are available between 8am and 7pm daily, with a minimum booking of two hours.

The council, however, has a caveat on its website that reads: "You cannot book barbecues, shelters (other than those included in your park booking site) or playgrounds. You must share these facilities with other park visitors."

The council states that to book a site, an application needs to made at least 10 working days before the activity or event to give them time to process and discuss any changes to the application.

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