Hun­dreds make a splash at pad

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

As hun­dreds of chil­dren cel­e­brated the open­ing of Porirua’s new splash pad, the most ex­cited per­son was a 75-year-old.

Four years af­ter Elaine Thom­sen lob­bied the coun­cil to build a wa­ter park for the city, she was the guest of hon­our when the taps were turned on just be­fore Christ­mas.

Ac­com­pa­nied by her grand­daugh­ter Izzy McKenna, Thom­sen hoped oth­ers would be en­cour­aged to speak up for what they wanted in their city.

‘‘I’d never done any­thing like that be­fore and I’m just so happy today.’’

It was in 2013 that Thom­sen first mooted the idea of a splash pad to then mayor Nick Leggett, hav­ing seen chil­dren en­joy a sim­i­lar fea­ture on the Ka¯piti Coast.

‘‘I said ‘have I got the deal for you’ and he was lovely and told me to put it down in writ­ing, which I did.’’

Ul­ti­mately added to Porirua City Coun­cil’s an­nual plan, the park opened at a cost of $910,000 dur­ing an af­ter­noon of cel­e­bra­tions.

The tod­dlers’ area in­cludes lowlevel wa­ter squirters and sprays, while the fam­ily area has jets of wa­ter in a va­ri­ety of shapes and sizes, a rain­bow of misty wa­ter and a rain­for­est that pours wa­ter.

The teen area has spray can­nons, in-ground wa­ter jets and a 6-me­tre­high wa­ter bucket dumper called the Su­per­splash. The splash pad will be open ev­ery day over sum­mer.

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana said the fea­ture was the per­fect Christ­mas gift to the city’s young peo­ple to en­joy the ‘‘hope­fully long hot sum­mer ahead’’.

Porirua woman Florence Mzila, who at­tended the open­ing with her daugh­ter Elise, said the park was a great ad­di­tion to the city.

‘‘It also means we don’t have to travel all the way up to Ka¯piti to use the one at Rau­mati.’’

Her friend Melissa Wim­sitt said she knew of many fam­i­lies who also made the jour­ney up the coast but who would now visit Porirua in­stead.

With wa­ter re­stric­tions in place around the re­gion, the park’s wa­ter is treated on site, and then re­cir­cu­lated. Mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems are in place, so if there are any is­sues it will shut off au­to­mat­i­cally.

PHOTO: VIR­GINIA FAL­LON/STUFF

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