INDEPENDENT NEWS

Porritt Park playground expands southwards

Published: Wed 19 Oct 2016 11:20 AM
Porritt Park playground expands southwards
(This plan shows the new playground zone on the right side shaded. On the left in the white section is where the skate and scooter park will be built. At the top is Queen Street.)
The playground area at Porritt Park in Thames is expanding to the south, towards the Danby Field car park, to make room for some play equipment being moved for the new skate and scooter park that is about to be built.
The main area of the playground will remain open and available, as usual.
Fences have gone up around this new zone while the work is taking place to keep kids and adults safe.
The first job is to construct a boxed softfall area. This should be completed around early or mid-next week. Then the fences go down until early November when the play equipment will be installed.
Some of the play equipment is being moved from near the Wakatere replica play boat, the site of the new skate and scooter park.
Other equipment will be taken out of storage and two new items will also be installed in the expanded playground zone.
The delay to installing the equipment is due to the shortage of local contractors who have the requisite qualification to install play equipment. Qualified contractors in the wider area are being kept busy building playgrounds in new subdivisions in Auckland. However, we expect this second phase of the work can begin in early November.
It will take two to three days for the installation work to be completed, during which the fences around the new southern zone will go up again. The rest of the playground will remain open and accessible.
Skate and scooter park
(The concept design for the new skate and scooter park.)
In the meantime, site preparations at the skate park and scooter zone at the north end of Porritt Park are continuing.
The Wakatere is being removed and usable parts are being salvaged and kept in storage for the use of a community group which wishes to pay homage to the original 1960s replica paddle steamer in some way.
Tests have confirmed the presence of asbestos in the sub-structure of the play boat. Asbestos was commonly used to strengthen building materials in this era, so it's not unusual to find it in something of the Wakatere's vintage. We're working with WorkSafe New Zealand to make sure the materials are handled according to the required guidelines.
Once the Wakatere is safely removed, work can begin on the skate and scooter park itself. This work could continue into February next year.
While this work continues, the playground and the path to Danby Field from the car park behind the Warehouse will be inaccessible. We recommend parking on Queen St or in the Danby Field car park if you're driving to use the playground or Danby Field.
Active Thames 2018
The skate and scooter park is part of the Active Thames 2018 portfolio of projects aimed at improving recreation and fitness facilities in Thames.
The other projects are the Thames Indoor Sports Facility - a new gymnasium being built right now in partnership with Thames High School on the school campus. The gym will be for joint community and school use and should be completed in April 2017.
The other component of Active Thames 2018 is a proposal for multi-sport clubrooms at Rhodes Park. It is programmed for 2018/19 as part of the 2015-25 Long Term Plan. The business case goes to Council for approval next year, so this one is still in its early planning stages.
For more information on Active Thames 2018 go to www.tcdc.govt.nz/thamessportsfacilities

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