Playground upgrades - questions and answers
So how does a playground make the revamp list?
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 this year there are six up for renewal because some of the equipment’s reaching the end of its safe shelf life. If only some of the equipment needs renewing, we'll do a partial renewal.
What happens to the old equipment?
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.
It looks like there is less equipment than before, why is that?
We know that sometimes when upgrading a playground that it appears there is less equipment. Like most things, the cost of playground equipment has increased since when the playgrounds were first built. Playground technology and structure has 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.
What kind of things can I suggest for the playground upgrade?
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 and we aim to provide new equipment that meets the criteria, fits with what we can afford and meets community needs. Our parks team works hard to be creative to make sure we get the best solution with the money available.
Why have you not included any shade in these designs?
We’re aware that some of our playgrounds don’t have enough shade and we do take this into account the best we can. Shade sails are the most obvious solution however they do come at a significant cost and therefore take away from providing more play equipment for children to play on. 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, don’t provide any metal surfaces and plants trees for future shade. In addition, we have designed some playgrounds with the future provision of shade sails if funding becomes available through the Councils Long Term Plan process.
How do you cater for children of all abilities in our playgrounds?
Ensuring that children of all abilities can access our playgrounds is important to us and is always front of mind. Unfortunately we are limited with what we can achieve in some of our parks as access to the actual playground areas, for example 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. For example basket swings or full accessible swings, like what is seen 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.
What happens once the first round of consultation's closed?
We'll take a look at all the options, ideas and what's doable. We'll then prepare a brief using your feedback 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 close as possible. We then select two options for the community to vote on. The winning option will be the option that gets built.
When will the playground upgrades happen, and when will they new playgrounds open?
We don't have set dates yet but will keep everyone in the loop using our Council website, Facebook page, signage at the playgrounds and Everything Kāpiti (E-Newsletter) . We'll aim to have six upgrades listed for 2019/2020 completed by June 2020.