Thursday, June 13, 2024

Children flock to revamped playground in Cockle Bay

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Howick Local Board chairperson Adele White says she and her colleagues are thrilled the new and improved children’s playground at Cockle Bay Reserve is completed. Times photo Wayne Martin

It’s taken many months and almost $250,000 but a colourful and newly revamped children’s playground in east Auckland is finally open to the public.

As the Times previously reported, the Howick Local Board voted in late 2021 to allocate $240,000 of funding to upgrade the playground at Cockle Bay Reserve.

The work was scheduled to get under way in February this year after having its initial timing derailed due to Covid-19.

Its planned upgrade was to see its existing swings replaced with a three-bay swing set and a seesaw and set of monkey bars installed along with a “tube fun phone set”.

It was also to get a natural play area with tree and stepping logs, balance beams, and timber stilts.

Shade sails were to be installed in areas where there’s no existing shade from trees.

A wheelchair-accessible carousel, drainage, and a wet-pour rubber surface for accessible play elements were to be installed.

Cultural artwork provided by local iwi Ngai Tai ki Tamaki was to be implemented into the playground, which was also to get soft landscaping in the natural play area and tree planting.

Board chairperson Adele White says the board wants to publicly acknowledge the features the iwi provided, including those on the concrete pathway and graphic painting on poles in the natural play area.

“Our board is thrilled to see this playground finally completed,” she says.

“Already we have had many comments on the vibrant colours, and variety of activities.

“The face-to-face adult/baby swing is hugely popular.

“I particularly like Reuben Kirkwood’s [of Ngai Tai ki Tamaki] Maori cultural design, which has been attractively integrated with native planting, and you can’t go past the stunning seascape beyond.”

Auckland Council area operations manager Marcel Morgan says project scoping for the playground renewal work began in 2019 with community consultation and engagement with mana whenua.

In early 2020 the council presented a concept design to the local board based on the feedback provided, he says.

“This was approved and the project was due to progress to the detailed design stage.

“Unlike a standard like-for-like renewal, this project was to be partially funded by locally-driven initiative (LDI) funding.

“For the Cockle Bay playground, this funding was allocated for additional equipment and shade provision.”

Morgan says the impact of the Covid pandemic on the council’s finances meant all such funds were put on hold, including those set aside for the playground.

“Thankfully, in the last financial year, LDI funding once again became available to local boards and the project progressed to the detailed design stage and has been delivered as originally planned.”

A large crowd recently turned out to a public event to help officially open the new playground.

It was attended by local board members, Howick ward councillor Paul Young, and numerous excited children who enjoyed trying out the new equipment.

The playground is at Cockle Bay Reserve in Shelly Beach Parade.

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