Playground removal ‘very sad’

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JACK.CONROY@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

For the past four years, Cromer St resident Colin Ward has enjoyed seeing young families come to Balclutha’s Water Tower Park to use the playground equipment.

That was until late last month, when the swings and seesaw were removed by the Clutha District Council — a decision Mr Ward called ‘‘very sad’’.

The area where the playground equipment sat is now an excavated hole, surrounded by new park benches.

‘‘You would see the mums and dads watching the wee ones having a swing,’’ Mr Ward said.

‘‘We love it — we’ve got grandchildren of our own.

‘‘I would take them to the park and, say they had half an hour, when it was time to go home they would say ‘we don’t want to’,’’ he said.
‘‘We hate to see it go.

‘‘Once you lose something, it’s gone for good.’’
He was worried parks in other parts of Clutha would be difficult for children in the neighbourhood to get to.

‘‘There is the park at the bottom of the hill, but it’s too dangerous for wee kids to be crossing the bridge and the road to get to it.’’

Neighbour Jackie Greenall agreed with Mr Ward.
‘‘My granddaughter often comes to visit and the first thing she wants to do is have me take her to the swings,’’ Mrs Greenall said.

‘‘There are good parks in other parts of town, but a set of swings just offers some light relief to parents who are out walking with their children.

‘‘They might go get an ice cream and come and sit here, which they can still do — but what are the kids going to do?’’

In response, Clutha District Council chief executive Steve Hill said the equipment was being dismantled following 2016-17 consultation for the Balclutha reserve management plan (RMP).

Future plans for Water Tower Park only included additional seating and ongoing green space maintenance, which had already been undertaken, Mr Hill said.

‘‘No further investment in maintenance of the playground equipment was contemplated by the RMP and consequently at some point the equipment would need to be removed,’’ he said.

‘‘Given the time lapse between the RMP decision and the removal of the equipment, public notices were placed on the equipment in December as a reminder of the earlier RMP decision.’’