Equipment replaced after safety audit

NATASHA THYNE
Last updated 05:00 18/07/2014

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Equipment at Waimate playgrounds has been recalled after it was found to be unsafe.

An audit of the Waimate District Council's playgrounds found only 16 per cent complied with New Zealand Safety Standards.

This compared to other councils' playgrounds compliance levels of between 25 and 97 per cent.

The six playgrounds inspected were Cameron St, Belt St, Wilkin St, Knottingley Park, Victoria Park and the skate park area of Boland Park.

The comment from auditor Park Central was the council was maintaining ageing assets.

"These ageing assets are difficult and costly to maintain when they are past their useful life."

Parks and reserves manager Graeme Watts said the audit and replacing the equipment was all to do with safety.

Equipment in the parks was given a grading, one being excellent and five being very poor.

Grade five meant they were not compliant with standards, having "wear and tear," or the wrong linkages, Watts said.

A report from the council showed five of the six swing sets were given grade five ratings.

All of the swings were removed in June and new frames have been put up.

The slides at Knottingley Park and Belt St were also removed and new slides purchased.

The Knottingley Park slide will be put up by the end of this year. The Belt St slide will be replaced next year at a likely cost of $17,000.

Two sets of see-saws from Knottingley Park will be removed and replaced next year, costing about $6000.

The junior and tyre swings at Victoria Park will be replaced next year, as well as the springy wallabies, budgeted at $25,000.

Safety surfaces, including bark, will be topped up in all playground areas by August.

Playground equipment will be audited again early next year and then every two years.

Mackenzie District Council has had a contractor inspect the play areas in the district on a monthly basis since 2007.

Community facility manager Garth Nixon said it was about maintenance and upkeep of the five play areas and two swing sets, making sure equipment was not worn out.

Timaru District Council parks and recreation manager Bill Steans said the council takes safety seriously and has a contractor check over the 39 play areas once a week.

He said the council did a major audit a couple of years ago, removing and upgrading equipment.

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- The Timaru Herald

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