Council removes 56 swings
Auckland Council has pulled down more than 50 swings across the city following an ’’incident’’ at a Waiheke Island playground.
But one playground inspector says Auckland’s Council has overreacted to the incident, although it does highlight the need for improved playground inspections.
Auckland Council says the July incident occurred when the bottom of a main post on a ‘‘T-bar swing’’ broke while in use.
Despite the person being uninjured the council has swung into action, removing 56 T-bar swings installed across the city over the past 20 years.
Auckland Council head of operational management and maintenance Agnes McCormick says there were no visual signs the swing’s structural integrity was compromised.
However, metal fatigue inside the swing’s poles showed the swings were potentially danger- ous, McCormick says.
The council are looking at a range of replacement options which would take about nine months, she says.
Adam Stride of Onehunga based playground manufacturers Park Supplies says the council has over-reacted to the incident on Waiheke.
Stride, whose company inspects playground equipment, says the incident was a result of structural rust in the base of the swing, not product design.
‘‘The majority of the T-bars out there, there’s no issue with them, it’s more of an extreme reaction to one failing,’’ Stride says.
‘‘There’s a lot of councils removing a lot of swings and all because one swing had rust issues at the bottom.’’
Stride says the Waiheke incident highlights an issue with playground inspection processes, with the failed swing not having been properly examined.
‘‘The first thing we look at [when inspecting] is structural so we’ll actually dig down and we’ll check the foundations and the elements that goes into the ground.’’
‘‘There’s playground equipment out there that’s 40 years old around the place and certainly rust and corrosion is an issue but it’s one that can be managed and monitored and rectified.’’
Stride says there are around three or four manufacturers that have produced T-bar swings in New Zealand over the last 25 years.
A potentially dangerous T-bar swing at Cornwall Park hangs empty.