Shady deal still wanted

AT A STAND-STILL: Paula Thompson wants to see sun shades placed over part of the grass area by the Caroline Bay skatepark.
AT A STAND-STILL: Paula Thompson wants to see sun shades placed over part of the grass area by the Caroline Bay skatepark.

A Timaru woman's sun shade project failed to gain traction but she now hopes a new council will be its saviour.

Paula Thompson wants to see sun shades placed over the grass area by the Caroline Bay skatepark but was unable to gain enough support for the $16,000 project on her first push two years ago.

She approached Lions and Rotary clubs, along with the Fonterra grass roots project, the Cancer Society, YMCA and Timaru District Council (TDC) in the hope of getting the funding she needed.

One Lions club offered $1000 and further assistance through a sausage sizzle fundraiser. The Cancer Society provided a letter of recommendation for the sun shades. The TDC agreed to foot the bill of a permit, but one was not needed, Thompson said.

"I got the offer [of $1000 from the Lions club], but I wasn't going to agree unless I knew I could get the lot. I wasn't prepared to accept $1000 until I knew I could collect the whole amount, as even though a kind offer, I didn't want to hold onto part [of the] money in case I couldn't fulfil the whole project."

Thompson's son used to be a regular at the skatepark, but due to his age and other interests he no longer uses it.

She is now questioning why a sun shade appeared over a slide in the playground neighbouring the skatepark.

"I was dumb-founded to see, after all my work, that they put a sun shade over one children's slide at the bay, which is used by supervised [children] for a very short time at most visits," she said.

"I have no problem with them having the shade for wee kids, but do we just give up once they turn into teenagers? There are also little children that skate and [the skatepark] is a large unshaded area to be in during the summer."

TDC parks and recreation manager Bill Steans said the shade had been placed over the steel slide because it was getting too hot in the sun and burning children when they used it.

"So it's a safety issue with kids going down."

He said Thompson had approached the council on the issue two years ago and Steans was waiting to hear back from her. He said council would still consider the idea.

"Nothing's changed there."

Despite her son no longer using the skatepark, Thompson believed something still needed to be done for those who still use it, particularly in the summer.

"I went out looking for funding and pretty much hit a brick wall. I thought maybe with a new council they might see things differently ...?

Due to family commitments, Thompson has had to take a back step from the project but hopes someone else picks it up. "Teenagers deserve to be under the shade as much as anyone else."

The Timaru Herald