Plea for swings
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.