Waterfront playground plan

The development of a smaller ‘‘metro-style’’ version of Christchurch’s Margaret Mahy playground ...
The development of a smaller ‘‘metro-style’’ version of Christchurch’s Margaret Mahy playground (pictured) could be fast-tracked on Dunedin’s waterfront, the Dunedin City Council says. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A Margaret Mahy-style playground on Dunedin's waterfront could be among the first local projects to proceed if the city secures a slice of the Government's $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund.

It was confirmed yesterday the city's bid for funding had been submitted on December 6 and a Cabinet decision was expected early next year.

Cr David Benson-Pope, the chairman of the council's planning and environment committee, said a positive outcome would allow the city to start "nailing down'' the specifics of the development plan.

Among the first to proceed could be a smaller "metro-style'' version of the Margaret Mahy family playground which opened in Christchurch in 2015.

Christchurch's playground was developed as part of the city's earthquake recovery plan, and was the largest in the southern hemisphere.

In Dunedin, a smaller playground inspired by the same approach was now mooted for the cross-wharf area at the top of Steamer Basin.

It could be a temporary space, until the development of an eco-tourism building replaced it, or it could become permanent if designs for the area continued ``evolving'', he said.

Either way, the aim was to draw people into the area, and sooner rather than later, he said.

That was in keeping with the emphasis on public access to the water that underpinned the wider development.

"The idea of a public playground, a really interesting one, I think fits perfectly with the public access issue. We're talking about a stunning public space here ... We've got to put things there that attract people other than those who might be working in buildings or staying in accommodation or lucky enough to be able to afford an apartment.''

The council has already voted 15-0 to build a $20 million, architecturally designed pedestrian and cyclist bridge to the waterfront.

Work was expected to begin next year, partly funded by the NZ Transport Agency, which would contribute $5.5 million.

Although the project's backers say the bridge is a key to unlocking public access and development of the area, critics have questioned the merits of the "bridge to nowhere''.

Cr Benson-Pope said that the playground plan would help address that concern.

While it would be smaller than Christchurch's, it would still be among the largest in Dunedin, he said.

"We're talking about an area where there are activities for children, but an area where families are attracted, where there's good shelter, great views, you could have barbecues there.''

The plan could also be helped by a reconfiguration of the surrounding area, he said.

One of the Jetty St overbridge ramps, leading down to Wharf St on the northeastern side of the bridge, was a "clip-on'' and could be removed, he said.

Wharf St itself could also be realigned, moving the road inland to the vacant grass lot previously earmarked for a waterfront hotel.

The timeline would depend on the outcome of the PGF application, but "I would hope we could move on something like that quite quickly'', he said.

"There would be some cost to council, but I don't think it needs to be large.''




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Yes please - go for it! Dunedin is v short of parks that have anything except the blah same-same equipment that is at every other park. Most of it seems to be blue, red and yellow - and exact replicas used park after park. Kids don't use the majority parks because they are boring same-same replicas w little opportunity for imagination or wonder. Be great to also get a rustic park somewhere in Dunedin, with open-ended play equipment also -- so kids can tinker and use their imagination.

Have to Agree the same old boring parks, the DCC needs to use Google Maps to look at the Broadwater in Southport park on the Gold Coast and Broadbeach ( not visit to waste coin), they have a giant blow up pillow like thing the children jump on, a type of train bikes that children pedal around a monorail and race each other, With Electric BBQs - Free on timers, some areas have a hot water heaters all gated with pool fences. People clean after use etc etc but I have to say does Dunedin really have the tempature? it is windy there.

Oh Great...build a kiddies playground with deep water on one side and a very busy road on the other...we have such clever ideas...not!

macfod I think you really need to get out a little more!!! Overseas they use pool fences and gates to keep children safe as well they have security camera and loud speakers that play old-fashioned music during the silent hours to keep the clowns away from destroying the play ground.

Leave the off ramp for a 24 month trial, just block it off at the top to stop cars using it and allow children `to use it like a skate ramp.

Hundreds of cars use this off-ramp every day. The proposed playground is cold and windy both in a north-easterly and a southerly, not to mention heavy car & truck traffic. So a totally WRONG place for a play ground. Appears to be another inept DCC proposal to spend our money to justify the 'bridge to nowhere' and further attack motorists.

Well said OtagoIdeas and so very very true, May be the DCC have the Stats of the off ramp mixed up with the numbers who use the cycleways, I forgot about the trucks that go through that area and a pool type fence will not stop a car or truck. Good idea for the Children of Dunedin, but totally the wrong place, needs parking the gardens or st Kilda would be a better suited place, it needs a cafe and or an ice cream /milkshake bar

Has anyone got any idea of the amount of vehicles using this part of the bridge ??
What is the council going to do to get traffic to and from the one way streets ??

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