Heady upswing for playground price tag

Interactive water feature, flying fox, 'NZ Wave'

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013
tdn swing stand
ROBERT CHARLES
PLAY TIME: Pukekura Park curator Chris Connolly enjoys the swings at the Fillis St entrance playground before they are replaced in a $550,000 makeover later this year.
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A half million-dollar playground to be built in New Plymouth's Pukekura Park this winter will include a $200,000 German-made climbing structure called the "New Zealand Wave".

The $550,000 budget for the new Fillis St entrance playground was close to five times that of any other playground built in the district, New Plymouth District Parks manager Mark Bruhn said.

"The most money we've spent on a playground is about $120,000," Mr Bruhn said.

The playground was being rebuilt because some of the older equipment was non-compliant under the New Zealand Playground Standards.

Energyworks Ltd donated $100,000 to the project and the New Zealand Community Trust donated $50,000.

A remaining $417,000 is budgeted in the New Plymouth District Council 2012/2022 Long Term Plan.

The playground, located near the water wheel, will be completely rebuilt and will include an interactive water feature, flying fox and the 20-metre long "New Zealand Wave" rope climbing structure.

The New Zealand Wave, which is 2.85 metres at its highest point, was custom-made by German company Corocord.

Mr Bruhn said no other play item of this type or scale was manufactured in New Zealand.

"The cost of this thing is very expensive."

The playground will also feature in-ground trampolines, a wind wand sculpture, a "keyhole swing", a nikau palm grove and various animal and insect sculptures.

Children from New Plymouth schools were asked to contribute ideas of what they wanted in a playground, Mr Bruhn said.

He said the council had chosen high-quality equipment to extend the life of the playground.

"It's a very high-use site. We want to make sure we have good quality materials that will stand the rigorous use."

The existing playground is the oldest of the three playgrounds in Pukekura Park, with its oldest structure dating back to 1987.

Other sections were added in the late 1990s and more recently in 2005.

The playground was now outdated, with certain parts of the original wooden structure not being compliant with current playground standards such as handrail heights and insufficient safety fall surface area.

Pukekura Park curator Chris Connolly said he was thrilled with the news.

"It's another great moment for the park. The old playground was getting pretty tired. To get this sort of money spent on it is huge."

The only part of the existing playground which would be incorporated into the new design was the old covered slide.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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