A PLAN to downsize Port Stephens' network of playgrounds could remove four sites and consolidate several others.
The plan, which has been sent to councillors, would potentially remove Shoal Bay, Soldiers Point, Corlette and Raymond Terrace playgrounds in favour of open space.
The proposal is outlined in a short-term plan for Port Stephens Council to deal with a mounting maintenance bill for its collection of family-friendly hubs.
The Newcastle Herald has reported an audit of the playgrounds conducted last year found 28 required either major repairs or had become entirely unserviceable.
The original assessment sparked fears all 14 playgrounds deemed irreparable would be removed.
But the council memo earmarks only a few centres for removal without replacement, opting instead to remove and "consolidate" some playgrounds.
Soldiers Point's Lancaster Park, Lorikeet Reserve at Corlette and Raymond Terrace's Ross Wallbridge Reserve will all go, as will the playground near Shoal Bay's tennis courts.
A total of six playgrounds are earmarked for consolidation, including two at Lakeside.
The suburb will lose its playgrounds near the end of Dunn Place and off Chifley Drive in the west, trading them instead for an expanded Benjamin Lee Drive site beside Lakeside Village.
All other playgrounds will be either replaced wholly or partially in the next few years.
Council civil assets manager John Maretich said a long-term plan for playgrounds would also be going to councillors.
"With most playgrounds built in the 1990s it is no surprise that some of our playgrounds are no longer fit for purpose," he said.
"As part of a long-term 10-year asset renewal program we are also proposing to allocate additional funds to . . . provide safe, convenient, reliable and affordable playgrounds."