Pokemon Go players invade Sydney park video

FAIRFAX MEDIA

Rhodes Park in Sydney has been taken over by Pokemon Go players

Sarah Westbrook and Brittany Kury were quietly checking their Pokemon Go apps in their Rhodes office to see if any monsters were nearby, when they could see the telltale rustle of leaves in a nearby park.

"We could see on the app that there were so many Pokemon crawling around, and there's none in the office," Ms Kury said.

Ms Westbrook added: "We had to come down and catch a couple of Pokémon so that we're cool with our friends."

Brittany Kury and Sarah Westbrook chasing Pokemon characters at Peg Paterson park in Sydney.
FAIRFAX MEDIA

Brittany Kury and Sarah Westbrook chasing Pokemon characters at Peg Paterson park in Sydney.

There were reports on social media that Pokemon players had been pelted with water bombs by locals.

However two believed that overall Rhodes is quite excited to be part of the Pokemon Go phenomenon.

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"It seems like Rhodes people have really come around it - even Ikea is full of people catching Pokemon as well," Ms Westbrook said. "It's taken over."

A small playground in the quiet riverside suburb has become one of the busiest spots in Sydney almost overnight, despite looking much the same as it did when it opened in early 2012.

Hundreds of Pokefans spent the night at Peg Paterson Park on Tuesday - not partying or playing - but looking down at their phones at the same app: Pokémon Go.

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Pokestops Go players claim they have been moved on by police and threatened with fines on Tuesday night, while nearby residents grow tired of reported noise and litter.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said:  "About midnight [Tuesday night], police came making a number of bookings for unauthorised parking on the roads - double parking.

"This playground is supposed to be for the kids. Yesterday people were hanging on those devices designed for kids to enjoy.

"It's becoming an activity which, if I as an individual wanted to hold - such as a birthday party - I would have to get council approval."

NSW Police have confirmed they wrote a number of driving related tickets, but told Fairfax Media that offences like loitering are usually aimed at suspicious individuals or those more likely to cause trouble.

"Police did issue a number of traffic infringement notices for parking offences and for using a mobile phone while driving. A number of people were also asked to move on following noise complaints from residents in the early hours of Sunday. For the most part, the crowd of more than 100 people was well behaved," a police spokesperson said.

"We remind anyone in a public place to be aware of their surroundings, to be considerate of others and to ensure they abide by the road rules."

The park has been recommended on multiple social media platforms as an ideal location for players to catch Pokemon in-game, thanks to three intersecting Pokéstops.

Users have created groups and subreddits on platforms  such as Facebook and Reddit - dedicated to cataloguing the best places to maximise your progress, and Peg Paterson Park is proving popular.

Pokestops are linked to real-world landmarks - while park areas, especially those with information signs throughout, have quickly been recognised as having some of the best concentration of stops.

While Pokestops can grant a player items and experience points, crucial to progressing in the game, it is also possible for a player to attach a 'lure module', which attracts Pokémon to the area.

Peg Paterson Park is small enough that a player can sit within the radius of three different Pokestops, which combined with three lures means monsters appear rapidly - usually the game involves walking relatively large distances to find Pokemon.

Canada Bay deputy mayor Helen McCaffrey said that the council had rostered extra rangers and undertaken extra waste collection to deal with the influx of players at Rhodes.

"The new game provides a wonderful opportunity for people to enjoy the parks, foreshore and other open areas around the City of Canada Bay in a fun, interactive way but we ask people to do this in a safe, considerate manner," she said.

"Our first concern is for people's safety, staying alert  to their local surroundings: look where they are walking, check for traffic before crossing roads and practice pedestrian safety.

"When playing Pokestops Go, we ask that people do this with consideration to where they are: in residential areas, keep noise levels to a minimum and bin any rubbish."

One of park's new-found guests, Daront, had bought a new jacket to brave the cold winds - just so he could play Pokemon Go for longer.

"We didn't know [the game] would be this big," he said. "This is the best place to find Pokemon.

"It's all over Facebook - the groups, the pages."

 

 - Sydney Morning Herald

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