Swings re­moved af­ter ‘in­ci­dent’

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HUGH COLLINS

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 dan­ger­ous, 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,’’ he says.

‘‘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.

PHOTO: HUGH COLLINS

A po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous t-bar swing at Corn­wall Park has had its swings re­moved.

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