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Playground pair now in Friends’ care

Masterton’s infamous bulldozer and tractor have been delivered into the care of Friends of the Park. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Story by Soumya Bhamidipati

Masterton’s most controversial playground equipment has now been transferred to the custody of Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park.

The park’s bulldozer and tractor were handed over to the volunteer organisation on Friday morning, courtesy of McAuley’s Transport, to begin their restoration journey.

Friends of the Park spokesman Graham Dick said the group would not be putting a timeframe on the restoration.

“We want to have them back as soon as possible, but we’re all volunteers so we don’t want to put too much time pressure on it,” he said.

“The engineers, Paul Foster and his team, will look at them and assess where they go and how much of the bulldozer they’ll need to repair.

“The blue Fordson tractor is probably the harder one.”

There was potential for head entrapment in the tractor’s steel wheels, Dick said, so the engineers would be looking at a solution and speaking with the person who wrote the safety audit.

“We’re very pleased to have the machines in our possession so that we can move ahead with the project,” Dick said.

Friends of the Park’s offer to get the two antique farm vehicles up to standard was accepted by Masterton District Council in May.

The two vehicles, installed 60 years ago, were removed in December 2020 for repairs to bring them up to playground standards.

While the council initially expected the duo to be back in early 2021, a later report recommended their permanent removal due to the repair work’s prohibitive costs.

Instead, it was decided the council would transfer ownership to a community group until the pair had “passed an audit to confirm compliance with the relevant NZ Standard for playground safety”.

They could then return to council ownership, and the playground.

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