Halswell playground equipment may not be replaced

Brad Helps with daughters Harriet (left) and Millie at Westbrooke Park playground. Photo: Fiona...
Brad Helps with daughters Harriet (left) and Millie at Westbrooke Park playground. Photo: Fiona Ellis
Brad Helps often takes his young children to Halswell’s Westbrooke Park playground - but by next summer this may no longer be possible.

The play equipment, built in the 1980s and 1990s, at Westbrooke Park, Shamrock Reserve, Wales Reserve and Ridder Reserve are reaching the end of their lifespan - and may be removed but not replaced at two of these locations.

Christchurch City Council is asking for community input on the use of space in the areas, located inside the city’s fastest-growing suburb. Last year 14 per cent of new housing consents by the city council were for Halswell builds.

Feedback on the playgrounds will be open until December 13, and Helps planned to share his views.

He only supported removing some play areas if others were not just replaced but expanded, he said.

“Otherwise you’ve just got more kids and less playgrounds, I don’t think that would be good.”

Westbrooke Park playground. Photo: Fiona Ellis
Westbrooke Park playground. Photo: Fiona Ellis
Westbrooke Park playground was old, but this did not worry him as long as it was safe.

City council community parks manager Al Hardy said it might be better to upgrade playgrounds in two parks and have more open space in the other two.

“We only have a limited pool of money to spend on these four reserves and we want to make sure that we spend it in a way that meets the needs of local families,” Hardy said.

Head of parks Andrew Rutledge said the four parks were located close to each other.

“Ridder Reserve is 220m from Westbrooke Park, Westbrooke Park is 180m from Wales Reserve and Wales Reserve is 320m from Shamrock Reserve,” Rutledge said.

Ridder Reserve. Photo: Fiona Ellis
Ridder Reserve. Photo: Fiona Ellis
“We have an opportunity to improve quality and variety of play equipment in these parks, while keeping play within walking distance of homes.

“As an outcome some equipment could be removed and not replaced.”

Community feedback would contribute to a concept plan for each park, and the Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board would be asked to approve the plans next May, he said.

Wales Reserve. Photo: Fiona Ellis
Wales Reserve. Photo: Fiona Ellis
“The concept plans will be implemented with construction expected late 2022 to early 2023.”

Halswell Ward city councillor Anne Galloway said needs had changed in the decades since the equipment was built, although this did not mean all equipment should be thrown out.

However, playing in nature without equipment dictating what children could do was beneficial.

“Being more creative in what we offer our children is good, I think,” Galloway said.

New reserve areas would meet the needs of new subdivisions, she said.

Have your say on the playground plans here.




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