“Lifeline” for popular New Brighton playground

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
May 06, 2024 |

Photo of much loved playground demolition / community board member Joanne Marie Zervo

A beloved playground in New Brighton’s Thomson Park, cherished by children for five decades, has received crucial support this evening.

Last week, the iconic fort playground was demolished after failing to meet council safety standards.

The proposed designs for its replacement faced sharp criticism from the community, who disapproved of the “kit set” appearance and excessive use of colored plastic.

In response, Waitai Coastal-Burwood-Linwood Community Board member Alex Hewison, New Zealand’s younger elected member, initiated a ‘Save our Playground’ petition, urging the city council to commit to a more appropriate, “like-for-like” replacement.

Waitai Coastal-Burwood-Linwood Community Board member Alex Hewison.

In a community meeting tonight, the board accepted his 1458 strong petition.

“The vote provides a lifeline for a Playground that has been loved for decades” Hewison said.

“The strong support for the petition shows that despite the lack of consultation, our community is willing to go in to bat for this playground.

“The playground as it stands is not like for like, and the community doesn’t see it that way either.

“At the end of the day, common sense does prevail, and I’d like to thank my colleagues for supporting my motions.”

Following Hewison‘s petition and advocacy to staff, the swings in the new design will be moved back in order to allow for the future proofing and expansion of additional modules.

“My motion also resulted in staff now coming back to the board to work on the design, and some of the concerns we have around lack of footprint and other lack of amenities.

“I’ve requested a report on funding options, and made it clear my wishes for it to come out of existing budgets, to ensure there is no added cost to the ratepayer, no drop to the level of service for our community, but a brilliant outcome and playground for the East.

Unfortunately the board had no powers or delegation to change the plastic design, but I’ve made sure we can maximise the potential of this Playground.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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