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Masterton Playground ‘past Its Use-by Date’

Masterton’s Kids Own Playground is “past its use-by date” and needs replacing, according to the Rotary club that was involved in its build 25 years ago.

Representatives from the Rotary Club of Masterton South urged councillors last week to include a playground replacement in its Long-Term Plan [LTP], and to include funding of “initial scoping” and planning work to the tune of about $227k.

About $100k of this has been requested for the first year of the LTP.

The actual replacement of the playground would likely cost between $3million-$4.5m with a majority of this cost to be sought from community grants.

John Murray, who presented Rotary’s submission to the Masterton District Council LTP hearings, said once an affordably priced project was accepted by the council, Rotary would seek funding support from the council “for the initial capital costs and a reasonable proportion of the overall capital investment”.

Masterton's Kids Own Playground. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

It would also seek donations from local businesses and the public.

Murray said the existing Kids Own Playground had a designed life of 20 years.

“This year is 25 years since it was built, well past its use-by date and it is now showing definite signs of deterioration.”

The existing playground was built and painted in just under a week in 1999 with the help of about 2300 volunteers.

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Under the direction of three playground consultants and local site captains, volunteers gave their time each day in three four-hour shifts.

The smallest shift had 120 people and the largest had 550.

Murray said the Rotary Club of Masterton South had assisted with regular re-staining and maintenance of the wooden structures since then.

The Rotary club has approached the landscape architecture consultant who led the design of the Margaret Mahy Family Playground in Christchurch, Catherine Hamilton of WSP Consultants.

She has visited Masterton and has developed a few ideas for the replacement playground, in particular, how to engage with the community, seek their input, and formalise a process towards construction and completion.

Murray said he saw the playground project as being “community-led, but supported by Masterton District Council”.

“The Rotary Club of Masterton South will take a leading role in liaising with the community on all aspects of the project, from design ideas, feedback, council and private funding, to management with the consultant of planning, construction, and completion.”

Regarding the sponsored fence battens and existing play equipment, Murray said the named fence battens “may be retained” in the new playground or relocated to other parks around Masterton.

Existing play equipment that meets today’s standards could also be relocated to other parks, Murray said.

Masterton District Council will deliberate on LTP submissions in June.

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