New playground equipment for all-abilities park
Memorial Park is becoming Palmerston North’s best playground for children of mixed abilities.
New play equipment has recently been installed that enables children with access and disability issues to join in, while it includes most able-bodied children as well.
City councillor Rachel Bowen, who holds the children and families portfolio, was one of those who supported submissions to the council’s 2016-17 annual plan asking for more accessible playgrounds in the city.
As a result, the council decided to spend an extra $80,000 improving access to reserves for people with disabilities, with at least $20,000 of that amount earmarked for developing Memorial Park.
Leisure assets officer Rob Bellad-Ellis said the latest play equipment, associated installation costs and soft matting underneath came to just over $120,000.
The gear includes a wheelchair trampoline, a basket swing, an accessible carousel, log climbing, tunnels, and various interactive play boards suitable for the visually disadvantaged, hearing disabled, or autistic children.
‘‘The new section is deliberately located in amongst the other equipment to promote inclusive play for all kids.’’
Bowen said Memorial Park held a special place in the hearts of families who lived in Terrace End and surrounding neighbourhoods, many of whom were not highly mobile.
A long term plan for its redevelopment was being prepared to go out for public consultation, but in the meantime, the facilities needed to be refreshed, she said.
It would be the park where the council would focus its efforts to
‘‘We're taking a really broad approach to what disability and access mean, so people can play together’’
Cr Rachel Bowen
cater for children with a range of disability issues, and include them in play with their ablebodied friends.
The park already had a wheelchair swing, but it was locked up, and people needed to know who to contact for the key.
‘‘Most children do not want to play on special equipment while others watch them.
‘‘We’re taking a really broad approach to what disability and access mean, so people can play together.’’
Families enjoying the new equipment at Memorial Park.