Plea for swings

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Ed­i­tor,

I was so dis­ap­pointed to read about the clo­sure of sev­eral play­grounds around the area (KMN, May 8). It doesn’t make sense that the lo­cal tod­dlers will not have a place to play with­out go­ing to the la­goon.

I’m a grandma of a two-year-old tod­dler and, when he comes to visit, An­nan Grove play­ground is the first place he wants to go and have a swing, and I know oth­ers in this street that use it reg­u­larly.

Surely even two swings could be left for these lit­tle peo­ple to en­joy just as the older kids en­joy their cricket on the grass area.

We should be en­cour­ag­ing our chil­dren to be us­ing the great out­doors rather than sit­ting in­side at their Plays­ta­tions, et cetera.

Play and so­cial in­ter­ac­tion are such an im­por­tant part of a child’s life and we are de­priv­ing them of this by tak­ing away such fa­cil­i­ties, (which are) also good for the adults as they ac­com­pany their chil­dren to these play­grounds.

Please, two swings would be bet­ter than noth­ing.

CYN­THIA MCCARTHY, Pa­pakowhai. Porirua City Coun­cil Leisure As­sets & Ser­vices man­ager Karyn Stillwell re­sponds: It’s al­ways a tough call to close a play­ground and that decision is only made where the play­ground is not used by enough peo­ple to war­rant the cost of re­new­ing its equip­ment, and where there is an­other within walk­ing dis­tance.

In the case of An­nan Grove, we also have an is­sue with poor drainage which makes the area boggy in the win­ter.

The coun­cil has had to pri­ori­tise how it spends the play­ground re­newal bud­get and it’s not af­ford­able to have a small park with one swing, near to a small park with a see­saw, which are not far from a larger play­ground.

We have a good dis­tri­bu­tion of neigh­bour­hood play­grounds and, in Pa­pakowhai we have en­hanced Aotea La­goon, which has a ded­i­cated un­der­fives play area with equip­ment and ac­tiv­i­ties that are not only fun but also aid in child de­vel­op­ment.

I spoke at length to my op­po­si­tion to the pro­posal and your head­line sup­ports my ar­gu­ments.

Un­der the May­oral Forum which is made up of the nine coun­cils in our re­gion, in­clud­ing GWRC, a united process has ex­isted since 2009 with all coun­cils par­tic­i­pat­ing in dis­cus­sions around pro­posed amal­ga­ma­tions or a su­per-city.

In Oc­to­ber 2010, Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers were en­gaged to re­view the Welling­ton Re­gion Coun­cil Gov­er­nance and in Au­gust 2011 Martin Jenk­ins’ sub­mis­sion anal­y­sis of that re­view went out for fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion.

In April 2012 GWRC sub­mit­ted an in­de­pen­dent process which in­vited the eight coun­cils to par­tic­i­pate, ad­vis­ing that re­gard­less of buy-in from coun­cils, GWRC will be con­duct­ing their re­view at a cost of $150,000.

This in­vi­ta­tion has been de­clined by seven of the coun­cils favour­ing to con­tinue to con­sult within their own boundaries and LTP as agreed, and re­port their find­ings back to the forum with the pos­si­bil­ity of a ref­er­en­dum on the pro­pos­als.

Gov­ern­ment have made it clear that they will not be mak­ing any fur­ther im­posed amal­ga­ma­tions and yet GWRC’S pro­posed re­view is to be com­pleted by Septem­ber 2012 ready for im­ple­men­ta­tion for 2013 lo­cal elec­tions. So what’s the rush?

I be­lieve the com­mon­sense ap­proach is to con­tinue to work to­gether by hav­ing the dis­cus­sions and look­ing at ways where we can share ser­vices and look for ef­fi­cien­cies.

While we are pro­gress­ing these dis­cus­sions we can mon­i­tor what is hap­pen­ing in Auck­land. Is big­ger bet­ter? GWRC and their sup­port­ers I be­lieve are us­ing scare­mon­ger­ing tac­tics to push their agen­das and en­sure their rel­e­vance at a fur­ther cost to the Porirua ratepayer.

Re­mem­ber a huge part of our rates con­tri­bu­tion goes to GWRC so we are pay­ing twice be­cause the decision to sup­port this re­view means it will also be funded from PCC.

The ad­vo­cates for this re­view would have you be­lieve noth­ing is hap­pen­ing and if we don’t jump on board with this pro­posal we will be left out. Re­ally!

Seven coun­cils have de­clined the in­vi­ta­tion and, for the record, we have al­ways been at the ta­ble and should con­tinue but with the right part­ner­ships.

A Re­gional Strat­egy was adopted in 2007, a process PCC led, all coun­cils ex­cept GWRC have just passed a Welling­ton Re­gion Waste Man­age­ment and Min­imi­sa­tion Plan, and shared ser­vices with seven key ar­eas are dis­cussed and up­dated as an agenda item at each May­oral Forum.

I would sug­gest GWRC’S pro­posal is a de­lib­er­ate hi­jack to claim their rel­e­vance, cause con­fu­sion and a dis­trac­tion to what the real is­sue is and that is that GWRC know the writ­ing is on the wall and the tier of gov­er­nance in Welling­ton that is likely to be scrapped is re­gional coun­cil.

LIZ KELLY, deputy mayor of Porirua.

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