New playground 'unlike anything in NZ'

$3m project aims to bring families to city

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 16:00 03/09/2014
playground

REAL DESTINATION: The playground design will draw on Canterbury themes such as the Canterbury plains, coast and wetlands.

playground
MASSIVE PROJECT: The first stage of the playground is expected to open to the public by Easter next year.

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About $3 million will be spent on playground equipment and surfaces for Christchurch's new inner city family playground.

A statement from the Central Christchurch Development Unit (CCDU) today described the Margaret Mahy Family Playground as being "unlike anything seen in New Zealand before".

About $2m will be spent on playground equipment, including a 10 metre-high climbing tower, a double flying fox and a 4m-wide slide.

A further $1m will be spent on surfaces.

The first stage of the playground is expected to open to the public by Easter next year.

The playground will take up about one hectare of a 2.5ha block between the Avon River and Manchester, Armagh and Madras streets, which will feature a cafe, an amenities block and community parkland.

CCDU director Warwick Isaacs said the overall block would cost $20m to develop, including site preparation, land remediation, decontamination, improvements to Armagh St and significant earthworks.

"There has been some confusion about the cost of the playground itself, which works out to be about $3 million for the playground equipment and surfaces," he said.

"Considering the size of the playground, this is good value for money when you consider what it costs to establish a playground from scratch."

Isaacs said the playground was being created on such a scale because the CCDU wanted it to be a "real destination in its own right" for children and their families.

"There are children growing up post-quake without any connection to our central city, and we want to attract them and their families back to see what is on offer."

The playground design will draw on Canterbury themes such as the Canterbury plains, coast and wetlands.

Safety was also "paramount" in the facility's design and planning, Isaacs said.

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