Play equipment at Carrington Park playground in Carterton. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND
The sliding standards of playgrounds
Rundown equipment, poor play surfaces, and finger trap risks.
Carterton District Council’s [CDC] four playgrounds have been labelled “tired and in poor condition” in a compliance report released under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.
The report by Park Central said CDC’s playgrounds were 61 per cent compliant with national standards.
The council aimed to achieve 85 per cent compliance over the next five years at Carrington, Howard Booth, South End, and Bird Parks, and work was being done to achieve this on an ongoing basis.
The report said Carrington Park play space was “tired and in poor condition”.
“The maintenance was of an average standard, with many of the issues of wear not being attended to.”
The report also said a small number of older playgrounds were past or nearing the end of their asset lifespan, and several new synthetic safety surfaces were “performing poorly”.
Of 33 playground assets across four sites, 12 items did not comply with national standards.
The compliance rate of 61 per cent was labelled as “average compared to other smaller districts/cities throughout the country”.
Nine playground items had a “poor” condition rating, and 24 had a rating of “good” or above.
The report recommended the renewal or replacement of the South End Park turnstile and Carrington Park’s swings, lullaby swing, mouse wheel, and flying fox.
The replacement or renewal of Carrington Park’s safety surface loose-fill and tiles was also recommended.
A problem area identified in the report was the potential for entrapment.
Fingers or clothing could get caught in components of slides, swing chains, and the seesaw.
Swings could be brought up to standard by placing a protective sleeve over the chain.
A weekly maintenance inspection of all playgrounds was recommended.
Carterton District Council’s community services and facilities manager Glenda Seville said the playgrounds were safe and maintained, but some equipment was not up to the latest compliance standards.
“This report is a fantastic way for us to identify the most urgent areas needing attention and will be used to form our upcoming maintenance schedules.
“We will continue to get these compliance reports issued every few years to strengthen our maintenance schedule and improve our rating.”
Seville said some of the equipment identified as needing renewal or replacement was already earmarked for replacement as part of the community’s plans to upgrade the playground under Ka Pai Carterton’s community-led development project.
“We need to balance making these items compliant with the time required for the Carrington Park Upgrade to progress, and not unnecessarily replacing items which may end up being replaced within two years.
“We will continue with maintenance in the meantime and have contingencies in place.” – NZLDR
- Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air