Mixed reaction to $586k George St playground

A playground being installed as part of upgrades to the central city cost the Dunedin City Council almost $600,000.

Contractors were seen testing out the play equipment yesterday, which received mixed reviews from passersby.

A council spokesman said the interactive play space cost $586,000 and would be the "icing on the cake" of the George St retail quarter upgrades.

The space was always a part of the overall project’s design, and was included in response to feedback from groups that George St could be more welcoming to families.

It features three seesaws, playable logs and rocks along with customised "talk tubes".

One of the seesaws is wheelchair accessible and the talk tubes are adjustable for wheelchair users, which is situated by two mobility carparks.

The equipment was designed in conjunction with mana whenua to celebrate the kukupa, another name for the native wood pigeon (kereru), with shaded seat elements mimicking its wings.

The Otago Daily Times visited George St yesterday and asked Dunedin residents what they thought about the central city playground.

Riley Fox, 20, and Phoenix Isted-Coad, 19, checked out the work site with their 8-month-old son Aslan.

Park Central playground auditor Tina Dyer takes a ride on a new seesaw in George St as part of a...
Park Central playground auditor Tina Dyer takes a ride on a new seesaw in George St as part of a compliance check. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Ms Fox said she thought the equipment would be "quite cool" — especially for dads and children who did not want to be dragged around the department stores by mum.

It would be good to have a place to sit down and let their son run around, she said.

Robert Blacow, of Mosgiel, said the equipment looked too big for small children.

"We’re a city of students. You can imagine what they’re going to do when they’re drunk on a Saturday night — there’s going to be so many injuries."

The money for the George St upgrades should have been used for free parking, he said.

A Dunedin woman, who wanted to remain unnamed, said she thought the centre of George St was a "bad place" to install playground equipment.

The height of the seesaw did not look safe for little children and she was "confused" by the choice of location.

Contractors from ENI, Playco, Numat and Jasmax were involved in the construction of the playground, the spokesman said.

The George St upgrades project remained on budget and ahead of schedule, with an expected opening date of May 3.