Playground designer takes a bow

Rod McCloy puts the finishing touches to the ropes
Rod McCloy puts the finishing touches to the ropes

Watching children and families enjoy the new Picton foreshore playground ship is proof enough the design and construction is a resounding success, its designer, Rod McCloy, says.

"The proof is in the pudding. It's the reaction of the kids and families that show how good a job we've done, and the times I've been down there I've had good feedback. It's a custom-design ship – you don't just get those off the internet – so we're really pleased with how it has gone [down]. It's been a really good team effort."

At 17 metres long and 8m high, the ship is about half a boat length bigger than its predecessor, a 20-year-old pirate ship.

Mr McCloy, who owns The Recreation Company in Blenheim and has designed playgrounds for schools and council reserves throughout New Zealand, designed the $90,000 ship and jetty so children could use it as a pirate ship, a cruise ship or any other type of boat they could imagine.

It includes a crawl slide, rudder, cargo net, large climbing tyres, a fireman's pole, tightrope, anchor climb and wheelchair access to the deck. The slide is big enough for children to crawl up it or slide down it slowly, and more than one child can go on it at the same time.

"It's such a short slide I wanted to make it so the kids can have a longer experience in it. They can stop along the way and have a chat," Mr McCloy said.

Construction was delayed by about a month due to wet weather.

"I wouldn't be surprised if this ship is still going strong in 20 years or longer."

Marlborough District Council reserves officer Dafydd Pettigrew said names for the ship had been shortlisted and the Picton Lions Club was expected to choose one in the coming weeks.

The Mickey Mouse statue has been repaired and is being painted. Its new location will be between the gazebo and the junior playground on the foreshore.

Cheryl Lippiatt, of Blenheim, and her children Xavier, 3, and Natalia 4, welcomed the new ship.

"It's great because it's good for all ages, not just the big kids," Ms Lippiatt said.

Ryan Scott from Ngakuta Bay said he was surprised to find the new ship on the foreshore but thought it was pretty cool. His favourite part was the cargo net.

The Marlborough Express