School­child­ren push to get park ti­died up

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Fed-up with the state of play at their lo­cal park, stu­dents at West­mere School are tak­ing mat­ters into their own hands.

With many un­happy with the leak­ing toi­lets, speed­ing mo­torists and patchy sports fields the chil­dren in years 3 and 4 put pen to pa­per to write to Auck­land Coun­cil in hope of change.

The chil­dren first dreamed up the idea to clean up Cox’s Bay Re­serve last year as part of a project fo­cus­ing on mak­ing change.

Play­ing host to other lo­cal schools and more than 800 peo­ple at the re­serve for the West­mere Kids Try sport­ing event also spurred the de­ci­sion, teacher Robyn MacKen­zie says.

Emily Bad­de­ley would like to see more rub­bish bins in­stalled at the re­serve.

‘‘There’s only a few down there and we need more be­cause rub­bish is fly­ing around ev­ery­where.’’

Emily is con­cerned the rub­bish will blow into the stream and harm wildlife.

Os­car Baker says bins for dog poo are also needed.

The cut­ting down of trees on Faul­der Ave which chil­dren liked to climb was a stick­ing point for Am­ber Cooper.

‘‘It was a big shock to all of us in the com­mu­nity when the man was al­lowed to cut down the very much­liked trees on Faul­der Ave,’’ Am­ber says.

Ms MacKen­zie says it is a pow­er­ful thing to make chil­dren re­alise they can make a dif­fer­ence.

‘‘If we want to at­tack things like graf­fiti and we want chil­dren to have pride in their area this is the way to do it.’’

The Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board is now or­gan­is­ing an is­sues reg­is­ter in prepa­ra­tion for a for­mal report back to the stu­dents.

The report will out­line the prob­lems which have been brought to the board’s at­ten­tion from the stu­dent’s feed­back, any im­me­di­ate plans for re­pairs and any in the pipe­line.

Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board mem­ber Jesse Chalmers says it is fan­tas­tic the stu­dents were able to be­come ac­tively in­volved in the lo­cal democ­racy process.

‘‘The idea of en­cour­ag­ing young peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in our lo­cal democ­racy is to in­spire a life­long habit.’’

Con­cerns raised by the stu­dents about the lack of fenc­ing around the park’s play­ground is some­thing which the board was al­ready aware of and is work­ing to re­solve, Ms Chalmers says.

While the board works on tack­ling the is­sues, the re­serve is in safe hands with its young care­tak­ers, Ms MacKen­zie says.

‘‘Th­ese kids will make sure Cox’s Bay is looked af­ter now.’’

Go to auck­land­c­ity har­ and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see some of the stu­dent’s let­ters and more pho­tos.

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