Schoolchildren push to get park tidied up
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 harbournews.co.nz and click on Latest Edition to see some of the student’s letters and more photos.