About playground upgrades
We carefully monitor all our playground equipment to make sure it stays safe for everyone to play on. This is measured against national standards, and usually relates to the equipment reaching the end of its safe shelf life. If only some of the equipment needs renewing, we do a partial renewal.
We know sometimes when we upgrade a playground, it looks like there's less equipment. Like most things, the cost of playground equipment has increased since the playgrounds were first built, and playground technology and structure have also changed. We now see that larger items may be a smaller footprint but have more play value and features, just not as spread out as some playground items.
We replace equipment because it’s reached the end of its safe life. Which means that in most cases, we can't just repurpose it somewhere else. Where possible, we recycle or reuse materials if we can do so safely.
We want to hear your ideas, so we can make sure the playground meets the needs of the people who use it. That's why it's important that you share your ideas. Once we have those ideas, we look at the set budgets we have for each playground we aim to provide new equipment that:
- meets the criteria
- fits with what we can afford
- meets community needs.
Our Parks team work hard to be creative to make sure we get the best solution with the money available.
We know some of our playgrounds don’t have enough shade and we take this into account the best we can. Shade sails are the most obvious solution but they are expensive, so mean we can't provide as much play equipment. As we need to provide as much equipment as we can, we look at other ways to reduce sun exposure, such as:
- how we orientate equipment
- not using metal surfaces
- planting trees for future shade.
We've also designed some playgrounds to allow us to add shade sails if funding becomes available through the Council's Long-term Plan process.
Ensuring that children of all abilities can access our playgrounds is important to us and is always front of mind. Unfortunately we're limited with what we can achieve in some of our parks, as access to the actual playground areas, like steep paths, limits what we can do.
In the parks that have easily accessible playgrounds, we aim to provide at least one play item for children of all abilities – like basket swings or fully accessible swings, like those at Kaitawa Reserve, Weka Park and Haruātai Park. Over the long term, where funding allows, our aim is to increase the number of playgrounds across our district that provide for children of all abilities.
When consultation closes, we look at all the options, ideas and what's doable. We use your feedback to prepare a brief for our playground suppliers – we work very closely with our suppliers to ensure their ideas are hitting the nail on the head and matching your ideas as closely as possible. Then we choose two options for the community to vote on. The winning option will be the option that gets built.
We don't have set dates for when the upgrades will happen, or the new playgrounds open, but will keep everyone in the loop using our Council website, Facebook page, signs at the playgrounds and Everything Kāpiti (e-Newsletter).