Fam­ily fun hard to find in town

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Local News - REX­INE HAWES

A lack of free week­end ac­tiv­i­ties for fam­i­lies has a new­comer to town ask­ing why the Mata­mataPi­ako District Council is let­ting Mata­mata fall be­hind.

Jessie-Rose Me­strom moved to Mata­mata from Oa­maru with her part­ner and 10-month-old Con­rad six months ago.

Oa­maru is slightly larger than Mata­mata, but has great park and coin op­er­ated bar­be­cue fa­cil­i­ties for fam­i­lies.

She has vis­ited all the parks in town and has no­ticed the lack of fa­cil­i­ties for crawl­ing aged chil­dren, es­pe­cially fenced-in ar­eas where fam­i­lies can park for the day.

‘‘It would be nice to go some­where with your lit­tle kids, big kids, sausages and breads and make an af­ter­noon with friends that doesn’t cost.

‘‘There re­ally isn’t much for the lit­tlies. A fenced area, maybe an add on to an ex­ist­ing play­ground.

‘‘With lit­tle kids, it needs to be fa­cil­i­tated and you need to be able to eat there and they need to be able to crawl and have that free­dom.’’

In the past six months she has joined play­cen­tre and var­i­ous par­ent groups, but it’s the free week­end ac­tiv­i­ties that she says Mata­mata is lack­ing.

She says find­ing a suit­able park with bar­be­cue fa­cil­i­ties would mean trav­el­ling to Hamil­ton or Tau­ranga. She en­joys the pools but the cost is not worth the short time a baby can spend there. A fea­ture park where tourists could en­joy a stop, have lunch and take pho­to­graphs would also bring more fam­i­lies in from neigh­bour­ing towns.

Mata­mata-Pi­ako District Council’s busi­ness sup­port group man- ager Manaia Te Wi­ata said Kowhai Street Re­serve and Tom Grant Drive had been iden­ti­fied for re­newal this fi­nan­cial year.

‘‘We may also do some mi­nor up­grades at other parks if the bud­get al­lows.’’

The council play­grounds at Mata­mata Do­main, Tom Grant Drive, Pohlen Park and Kowhai Street Re­serve pro­vide some equip­ment suit­able for preschool chil­dren as well as equip­ment aimed at older chil­dren.

‘‘When up­grad­ing play­grounds we do where prac­ti­ca­ble pro­vide equip­ment that caters for a wide range of age groups.’’

Te Wi­ata said the council was likely to pro­vide for ad­di­tional play­grounds in Mata­mata in the 2018-28 long term plan, which was to go out for con­sul­ta­tion early next year.

REX­INE HAWES

Jessie-Rose Me­strom hopes council will con­sider up­grades to Mata­mata’s play­grounds and parks.

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