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Local support for water park

An example of a splash pad – an open-air space for water play. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Erin Kavanagh-Hall
[email protected]

With both its younger population and summer temperatures on the rise, Masterton is the ideal location for an outdoor splash pad.

That’s the opinion of Masterton man Hayden Mischefski – and, if support on social media is anything to go by, he’s certainly not alone.

Last month, Mischefski started the Masterton Splash Pad Project: to advocate for the installation of a splash pad in the town and, eventually, raise funds to establish and maintain it.

He envisioned the splash pad would be free for families to use and be supported by both local government and community funding streams.

A splash pad is a recreation area for water play – which typically features jets which spray water upwards from the ground, as well above-ground showers and moveable nozzles, controlled by a motion sensor.

Mischefski, who has been involved in community development since moving to Wairarapa in 2010, said his focus is gathering community support for a splash pad – before pitching the idea to Masterton District Council.

A Facebook group dedicated to the project, launched on January 16, already has 506 members.

Members have been largely supportive: leaving comments affirming that a splash pad would be a positive addition to Masterton, especially with more young families moving to the area.

Mischefski said a splash pad would be ideal not only for Masterton’s shifting demographics but its famously warm climate – which is “only going to get hotter.”

“A splash pad would be a great drawcard for our town. It could be somewhere for people to cool off, a place for families to hang out and have picnics, and a safe area for children to spend more time outdoors,” Mischefski said.

“Plus, it would be something fun that’s affordable – there are a lot of families that can’t afford regular trips to the pool.

“Right now, the aim is to at least get something in front of the council, so they can see the community is serious about the idea.

“And people are getting behind it: Masterton is changing as a community, and we need the infrastructure to cater to those new demographics.”

Mischefski, who works in procurement and construction, has been involved in several community projects: including setting up Te Kura o Papatuanuku Wairarapa Earth School and planting fruit trees in Carterton.

He said there had been some interest in a splash pad for Masterton several years ago – with discussions about fundraisers on Facebook.

“However, no one seemed to have picked it up.”

This week, Mischefski will be meeting staff at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to discuss community funding initiatives.

He said the project will need to explore funding avenues other than council – to avoid pressure on ratepayers.

As DIA requires evidence of community involvement in projects before assisting with grants, he is brainstorming ways for schools to contribute.

“I was thinking of organising a design competition, and having children submit their ideas for what they’d want a splash pad to look like.

“For example, do they want it to be huge, or more simple? Do they want a theme? Should it have an octopus that sprays water everywhere?”

Another important consideration is water consumption – as some have raised concerns that a splash pad is not conducive to conserving resources.

Mischefski is researching more innovative solutions, such as rainwater harvesting or recycling treated water.

He said he is keen to hear from anyone with ideas on funding, water usage, and design – and invites them to join the Masterton Splash Pad Project Facebook group.

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