Ropes could tempt bad choices

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS -

‘‘I can see some­one dy­ing from it’’ Lew Find­lay

The high ropes course pro­posed to be built on Palmer­ston North’s Rail­way Land could be a death trap, a city coun­cil­lor says.

The high ropes course would be run by Tek­ton Ltd, com­ply­ing with WorkSafe rules about re­mov­ing equip­ment and leav­ing only poles and guy ropes in place when the site was not su­per­vised.

A small group of city coun­cil­lors have voted against al­low­ing the course, but the ma­jor­ity have sup­ported al­low­ing plan­ning to go ahead.

Other high ropes cour­ses were fenced off at night, Coun­cil­lor Lew Find­lay said, and he could not sup­port some­thing that would be a temp­ta­tion and a haz­ard for young peo­ple on their way home from pubs at night.

‘‘It is go­ing to be so easy for young peo­ple who have had too much to make very bad de­ci­sions,’’ Find­lay said.

‘‘I can see some­one dy­ing from it.’’

Cr Chris Teo-Sher­rell said that ar­gu­ment against the fa­cil­ity did not hold wa­ter.

‘‘Cit­i­zens need to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for not go­ing out and get­ting pissed on Satur­day nights and then climb­ing things.’’

Cr Jim Jef­feries said con­cerns about safety were part of the ‘‘bub­ble wrap so­ci­ety’’, where young peo­ple were de­prived of tak­ing risks and did not have enough op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­velop phys­i­cal skills and con­fi­dence.

Com­mit­tee chair­woman Su­san Baty said the high ropes course would be packed up when un­su­per­vised.

‘‘If we were that wor­ried about safety we should close the skate park, and pull out all our sculp­tures. We might as well put fences around ev­ery­thing and stay in­side our houses in case the kids fall over.’’

Prop­erty man­ager John Brenk­ley said Tek­ton could op­er­ate the course as safely as any­one.

Other coun­cil­lors said the coun­cil was giv­ing the li­cence away too cheap, at a pro­posed $2000 for the first year, and that many peo­ple would not be able to af­ford to use it

at the pro­posed cost of $37 per per­son.

The full coun­cil on Mon­day ap­proved the com­mit­tee’s rec­om­men­da­tion to take the next step, which is to seek Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Mag­gie Barry’s con­sent for the li­cence, which is needed be­cause there is no re­serve man­age­ment plan in place for the Rail­way Land.

An artist’s im­pres­sion shows how the high ropes course might blend in to its sur­round­ings on Palmer­ston North’s Rail­way Land.

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