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Beijen gets behind a playground at Ngawi

A former South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] mayor is supporting the development of a children’s playground at Ngawi on the region’s south coast.

Alex Beijen promoted the proposed project at the Martinborough Community Board [MCB] meeting last Thursday evening, which he attended to discuss the concept.

“In Ngawi we get many thousands of visitors every year, and quite a lot of people who have houses there have children or grandchildren,” Beijen said.

He said that, unlike many other communities, the area does not have a playground.

The Ngawi community is very involved in a range of local activities on a voluntary basis, including lawn-mowing, a community kitchen, and the fire brigade.

“We don’t normally come to the community board or council for funding,” he said.

“This would be quite a major project; it would be on council land and be owned by the council.”

Beijen said the intention is not for the council to fund a project of this size through a grant, but he thought it might be appropriate to be funded from the Pain Farm Trust.

“Children’s playgrounds are specifically mentioned as an appropriate use of the fund,” Beijen said.

“What we are asking you to do, is that over the next two funding rounds we have an amount of money come to us – around $25,000 a year.”

Beijen said the expected cost of the facility was more than $200,000, with the rest of the money coming from other sources.

“The community is more than happy to come up with the balance of the funding, but we would really like the council to assist.”

The MCB under the guidance of SWDC has a governance role over the Pain Farm Trust Lands and the recommendation of the expenditure of its income.

The Pain bequest is held on behalf of the inhabitants of Martinborough and is expected as far as possible to be made available as “a sports ground for the residents of Martinborough and as a playground for the children”.

Beijen said it is a large project which will require multiple consultations with the council.

Following questioning from MCB member Mel Maynard, Beijen acknowledged that – while the facility is expected to be constructed on council land – the exact spot has not yet been determined and the project is still at an early stage.

“We need to know that council has looked at it, and council has given land towards this first – before we can look at how much [money] needs to be put into it,” Maynard said.

“We are currently getting pricing for the playground equipment,” Beijen said, acknowledging the matter has not yet been put before SWDC.

“We need to know the viability of the project before we really start to spend money on architects or get landscaping quotes.”

MCB asked that the project team develop a land option with SWDC in the first instance.

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