Coun­cil plays around with kids’ parks

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

Five Porirua play­grounds are be­ing scrapped while two will be up­graded fol­low­ing a Porirua City Coun­cil re­think on how to best pro­vide play ar­eas for chil­dren.

Leisure, as­sets and ser­vices man­ager Karyn Stillwell says all Porirua’s play­grounds are safe but some are due for re­newal and do not have an imag­i­na­tive con­fig­u­ra­tion of equip­ment or ac­tiv­i­ties. They may also be close to a play space which has re­cently been up­graded, such as Wai­tan­girua Park.

‘‘We have ex­am­ples in the city where we have a small park with one swing, near to a small park with a see-saw, which are not far from a larger play­ground. We have oth­ers that at­tract the wrong kind of at­ten­tion and as a re­sult be­come un­der­used.’’

Na­tone play­ground, near Wai­tan­girua Park, will close in May, Gil­lies Place play­ground in Ranui Heights will close in June, and An­nan Grove play­ground in Pa­pakowhai is con­sid­ered close enough to Aotea La­goon to be non-es­sen­tial. Its equip­ment will also be re­moved in June.

Two more play­grounds have al­ready been de­com­mis­sioned; Wai­hora play­ground, near Wai­tan­girua Park, and Desert Gold play­ground in As­cot Park.

The im­pact of the lat­ter should be soft­ened by the up­grade of nearby As­cot Park play­ground, which will re­ceive new equip­ment by July.

Like­wise, a facelift to the Ernest St play­ground in Ranui Heights will off­set the clo­sure of the Gil­lies Pl play area. This up­grade should also be fin­ished by July.

Ms Stillwell says it’s al­ways a tough call to close a play­ground but that decision is made eas­ier when the clos­ing of an un­der­used play­ground con­trib­utes to the up­grade and im­prove­ment of a nearby park that is within easy walk­ing dis­tance.

She says the coun­cil’s draft Play Spa­ces Strat­egy takes a ‘‘holis­tic view of play­grounds in the city’’ and will en­sure play­grounds have equip­ment and ac­tiv­i­ties in them that are fun and aid in child de­vel­op­ment.

‘‘ Our play­grounds need to pro­vide a phys­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment where kids can in­ter­act to­gether and get in­volved in imag­i­na­tive play. They also need to be safe and age ap­pro­pri­ate.’’

The coun­cil also has to pri­ori­tise how it spends the play­ground re­newal bud­get, she says.

‘‘We be­lieve that the best way to do this is to en­sure we have a good dis­tri­bu­tion of neigh­bour­hood play­grounds in the city, and en­hance city play­ground pro­vi­sion with the likes of Aotea La­goon and Wai­tan­girua Park.’’

Do you think these play­ground changes make sense? Email ed­i­tor@kmananews.co.nz

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