Playground neighbours upset

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Neighbours of Rangiora’s Koura Reserve are upset at a Rangiora Community Board’s decision to support the Waimakariri District Council’s (WDC) concept Plan A for a playground.
The group say they have not been adequately consulted about the project and only given two choices, both of which they considered unsuitable for the small site.
‘‘It was a dictatorship not a consultation,’’ they said.
‘‘It was Plan A or Plan B. We asked for more information but it was never provided.’’
Some of the group opposing the proposal attended the community board’s meeting held last Wednesday to speak against the council’s proposal even though they are not opposed to a playground at the site.
Their spokesman Paul Reeves told the community board members that the group supported the council’s efforts to provide good reserves in the area.
However, they were concerned that some of the equipment chosen for the Koura Reserve playground would be situated too close to their homes which would impact on their security and create privacy problems for them and people using the park.
During the community board’s meeting the council’s community green space manager Chris Brown said the design of playgrounds had to satisfy the council’s levels of service requirements which the Koura Reserve playground equipment did.
‘‘We believe what we have proposed meets our levels of service,’’ Chris said. However, there were many other equipment options available to choose from.
The neighbourhood group said they would like to see some of the other options available. They were grateful to the community board members who supported them at the meeting – Peter Allen, Murray Clarke and Keith Galloway.
They believe that with a little more consultation and consideration for the demographic of the area the site could be developed into a special place more suitable to a wider group in the community.
They outlined their concerns about the proposed playground in a submission sent to the WDC during May this year and also offered suggestions for how it could be improved.
Their main concerns involve a basketball half-court close to residential housing because of the noise it would generate and a tall slide onan earth mound, also placed close to homes, because of the privacy problems it would create.
They also expressed concern about the safety of a children’s playground situated so close to Koura Creek.
‘‘The proposal does not include intentions to make this area safe for children,’’ they said.
They asked for the slide to be moved and the basketball half-court to be replaced with suitable outdoor fitness equipment.
Exercise equipment installed in Rangiora’s Dudley Park last December, and in other parks overseas, has proved popular with many age groups.
The group would also like to see a small number of food forest trees, such as black boy peach trees, or nut trees, planted through the wider reserve.
‘‘The trend is now to include some food forest trees in parks and reserves for food sustainable practice and community connection,’’ they said.
The group hope the council will seek further consultation with the neighbouring community the Koura Reserve playground is intended to serve before the project is allowed to proceed.