Family fun hard to find in town
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.
Jessie-Rose Mestrom hopes council will consider upgrades to Matamata’s playgrounds and parks.