Fears for skate park after residents banish 'noisy' flying fox
The flying fox is done for. Some fear the skate track at a Christchurch park will be next.
Muka Park, in the Prestons subdivision in Marshland, has been a source of local contention since a 50-metre flying fox was installed more than a year ago. Some living next to the park, who found the mechanism noise intrusive, complained to the council.
The noise was tested and found to exceed night-time noise limits. The Coastal-Burwood Community Board chose to remove the flying fox and lower the starting platform, estimated to cost about $20,000.
Some residents in the subdivision fear those who complained about the flying fox will now go after other playground equipment.
A letter drafted by lawyer Prudence Steven on behalf of residents objecting to the flying fox, presented to the community board at its last meeting, noted issues with the adjacent skate path – from both a noise and privacy perspective.
It said those objecting to the flying fox considered noise from the skate track caused "a significant noise nuisance".
"As with the flying fox, the skate path is located far too close to residential properties. "A far greater separation distance would be required to mitigate noise or privacy issues."
The letter raised concerns those standing on the starting mound of the skate path could see over full-height hedges or fences and into residents' properties.
Alun Davies, who campaigned for the flying fox to stay, said they "lost the war of bureaucracy versus democracy".
He said after reading the letter, the community was concerned they would "end up with a flat piece of grass".
"You look at the skate park, you look at the basketball court – it's very easy for those to be made loud enough they'll fail ... the night time test."
He said there would "definitely be push-back" on attempts to have other park facilities removed.
Resident Ben Niven said the residents who complained "had an issue with the entire park".
As the complainants were not aware the playground was going in when they bought their sections, they had "more of a claim against the developer, rather than the compliance of the park with the council", he said.
Niven questioned why the park's original developer, Ngai Tahu Property, did not bear the cost of removing the flying fox.
"The asset [the council's] taken over doesn't comply with the city rules, so why is that cost borne by the ratepayer?"
The Christchurch City Council did not respond to this question before deadline.
Cr Glenn Livingstone said it was a delicate matter to work through, but did not want "a community split".
He wanted to take the concerns of all residents on board.
"It would be sad if we couldn't have provision for children in the area, which was the intention of the park," he said.
When contacted, Steven said she did not have authority from her clients to comment.
The pole and wire for the flying fox remain in place, with the council yet to schedule their removal.