Park usage under review by council

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 15/11/2012

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Identifying park land that could be hocked off will be part of a recreation and open spaces strategy proposed by New Plymouth District Council.

Should community boards and councillors approve the development of a strategy it will spark off a process that will take about 14 months to complete and involve extensive community consultation.

Council parks boss Mark Bruhn said the plan was to look at the current demand for recreation and open space as well as future trends and establish whether the supply of facilities was correct.

Within New Plymouth District, 87.7 per cent of dwellings are within 400 metres of a council-owned open space and 89.3 per cent are within 500m.

Mr Bruhn said the plan would help council make strategic decisions about such things as recreation, sport and leisure needs of the community as well as the requirements of high-performance sport.

The Kaitake Community Board gave the thumbs up to the development of a strategy yesterday after lengthy debate to ensure boards such as theirs were involved in the process.

A report on the current use of recreation and open space in the district showed the top three things people wanted open spaces to provide were walkways, beach access and events or concerts.

The most popular recreation activities in Taranaki are walking, gardening and swimming.

Since 2008 the use of the coastal walkway has increased by 45 per cent and the number of users at Todd Energy Aquatic Centre has increased by 100,000 since 2001.

The review will be carried out at the same time as a separate examination by council of how it allocates, charges and facilitates commercial activities such as coffee stalls and icecream stands in its parks and reserves.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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