Public to get say on how many playgrounds to upgrade

Would you like one big destination playground or three smaller ones?

That is the question that will be put to locals after Dunedin City Councillors deferred making a decision on the concept without further public consultation in an annual plan meeting yesterday.

Councillors were to consider three options for a destination play space: they could upgrade the existing playgrounds at Marlow Park, Woodhaugh Gardens and Mosgiel Memorial Park; consolidate their investment and do a larger upgrade on one of those parks; or develop a new playground from scratch on a greenfield site.

Instead, Mayor Aaron Hawkins put forward a new motion requesting council staff create a report on how a destination playground could be resourced and with options for community engagement.

The report would look at both the three-site and single-site options and be due before annual plan deliberations in May .

He said there were likely to be differences in public opinion on whether to commit to three smaller upgrades or one larger one.

"I think it’s premature for us as elected members to take a position on this given that we know playgrounds and play spaces are community assets of significant public interest."

There was also no money budgeted for a destination playground at present.

He also did not want to rule out building a new playground on council-owned land, citing Market Reserve as a potential centrally located site.

Cr Andrew Whiley spoke against the mayor’s motion and said a consultant report from Bespoke Landscape Architects, which was received by councillors before the meeting, had recommended councillors complete a smaller upgrade on the three named parks.

"There is a desire by some councillors to focus on a single site development on council-owned land, and I can see the mayor potentially having numbers to push that through."

The city’s existing playgrounds had been neglected by successive councils over many years and creating a new playground would miss the opportunity to bring much-needed improvements to existing spaces, he said.

Councillors voted in favour of the mayor’s motion by a margin of 12 to 3, Crs Whiley, Jules Radich and Lee Vandervis voting against.




Logic says upgrade the three existing sites but I can see where the mayor is coming from. He will need somewhere for him and his acolytes to play after the next elections.

Of course, a single destination playground would need to be fully serviced with walk and cycleways as well as bus services. Parking would need to be restricted so to encourage active transport and save the planet from cars
Fencing and security is also a must to stop the facility deteriorating into a focal point of the unruly
Sounds just like another Hawkins thought bubble to me
Woodhaugh is our local playground.
It has tracks through native bush, free electric BBQ's for inner-city picnics , nicely laid out grounds sheltered from prevailing winds and some play equipment. It is located close to the Botanical Gardens and Super Market. For those that enjoy a bush walk, the Ross Creek walkways are also on hand. All this is easily accessed via the one-way system.
Anyone thinking that they can interfere with this facility without community outrage does so at their own peril

You are right about the excellent qualities of Woodhaugh, wrong about accessibility. It is the far North of Dunedin city. Families from Waldronville, Bradford, Corstorphine, Company Bay, St Leonards ... most of Dunedin are not able to get there easily or cheaply. The same applies to anywhere chosen for a Super-Duper Mayoral Reputation Enhancement playground. We are much better served by a dozen small local playgrounds, each with its own character. Please, not so overwhelmed by safety-mania that it is impossible for a child to bruise a knee falling off something higher than a footstool.

A big super playground is a temptation for any mayor or councillor: Look what *I* built for the city!
For parents and children it is different. A visit to Moana Pool, for families without cars who live well beyond walking distance is a rare treat. Two buses each way, with delays at each change, make it an expensive and time consuming exercise.
Dunedin is spread out. It's not densely populated. It's hilly. Public transport is problematic no matter how good the intentions to serve as many areas as possible.
Smaller playgrounds intelligently designed, imaginative, providing varied challenges for both fitness and child-invented games, are clearly the best value for money. Local grounds within clear sight-lines of many homes so children can go there on their own - with friends - without bad people thinking they are unobserved. There must be seats for adults too, vital sit-down and relax places while the kids use up some of their spare energy, and where they can become acquainted with other neighbourhood parents. Local facilities foster community, help fight loneliness.