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Playground opens minus full consent

Just in time for the school holidays, indoor playground Go-Zone Wairarapa opens today for a limited number of booked appointments – despite the playground structure still not being fully consented by the Carterton District Council [CDC].

A recent engineering report found that the playground, which was initially scheduled for a March opening [and has had its playground equipment fully installed since then], needed more structural work to become compliant with the Building Code and qualify for a certificate of acceptance.

CDC chief executive Geoff Hamilton said the council advised Go Zone it would strongly prefer the business not to use any structure subject to the engineering assessment until its certificate of acceptance was issued.

“The engineer indicated the playground may suffer lateral [sideways] movements when children play at the top of the structure. This needs to be remedied before a certificate of acceptance can be issued by council.”

But business owners Joe and Amanda Mitchell said they cannot afford to wait.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of time, and we’re trying to put something in place where we’re not running at maximum capacity, but at least we can pay the bills that we need to pay to keep going,” Amanda Mitchell said.

Although the playground itself is not completely signed off, she said the building it is housed in is fully compliant, and the playground equipment and installation are of a high standard.

“We want to reinforce to people that our playground is safe, our structures are safe, and they are constructed and installed in a very similar way to all of the indoor playgrounds in New Zealand and around the world.

“We wanted quality. We wanted to make sure that the money that we put into it – which was everything we had – went a long way.”

Hamilton said CDC told Go-Zone to apply for a building consent in October.

However, after seeking advice from other indoor playground businesses and from consulting firm Playsafe, Go-Zone was left with the strong impression the playground did not need a building consent before installation.

“That’s where it would appear we got it wrong,” Mitchell said.

CDC shut down the installation part way through construction and made it clear that Go-Zone should have applied for a building consent, she said.

Because construction was already underway, the business was asked to apply for a certificate of acceptance, which is like a building consent after the fact.

“This process takes a lot of time to be assessed by structural engineers and for them to come up with plans,” Mitchell said.

“We are planning to have this issue addressed in a very timely manner; we take it seriously and will endeavour to get it sorted as soon as possible.”

Despite not having its final sign-off, the adventure playground is open from today with restricted numbers and by bookings only.

Hamilton said CDC could shut Go-Zone down for operating without a certificate of acceptance but is choosing not to while it works with the new business to remedy the faults identified in the engineer’s report.

“While it is disappointing that this report has delayed the certificate of acceptance, it does show how close the project is to final sign-off, and everyone is focused on the safety of our children,” Hamilton said.

“We are appreciative of the support of our parents as Go-Zone work through these issues.”

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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