In recent years, Waitematā Local Board has worked closely with the Auckland Council Parks and Recreation team, landscape architects, iwi, community groups and local schools to make playgrounds and play equipment more accessible and more attractive.
Safety and fun
“Many parks were due for an equipment overhaul to ensure that safety requirements are met and that playgrounds continue to attract use by children and families,” says Pippa Coom, Waitematā Local Board chair.
“Safety remains the top consideration for any changes to our community playgrounds. We are involving children more in the design decision-making which is helping us match what will interest children and spark their imagination with final design and delivery of more accessible and fun playgrounds.”
Recent playground improvements
In the last couple of years local playgrounds in Grey Lynn and Western Parks; Salisbury, Tirotai, Tole and Costley Reserves have been improved and incorporated some great examples of this new direction. Myers Park has also been transformed and is now a popular destination playground.
Making playgrounds more accessible
Western Park playground
- The lower level playground surfaces are flush with the adjoining footpaths and grass so that kids can easily access the playground.
- The combination of surfaces (rubber cushionfall, astroturf and asphalt) are all flush, allowing wheelchairs and prams to negotiate the play area and it's easier to negotiate for those with impaired mobility.
- The trampolines and carousel equipment are at ground level for easier access and a basket swing allows kids to stand, sit or lie safely while swinging.
Making playgrounds for a wide range of ages
Western Park playground
- The playground caters for toddlers to young adults with play equipment and structures to suit.
- There are specific items such as the toddler nest, slide and swing that are suitable for the youngest children and items like the nest at the top can be a fun hang-out spot for young adults.
- There are three levels of slides, including one of the highest and longest in Auckland.
Grey Lynn Park playground
- The preschool level equipment is located near the paddling pool and has been separated from the swings and the timber climbing structure by an astroturf mound with a tunnel, and an upgraded walkway.
- The playground has been integrated with the adjacent picnic area so the whole family can enjoy the space. Additional site furniture upgrades include a drinking fountain, cycle racks and extra seating.
- Seating is located to maximise natural shade opportunities close to the play equipment – adult needs are part of playground design too.
Inspiring the imagination
More elements are introduced to help inspire the imagination. Did you know that there is a fish to be found at the bottom of the Salisbury Park sandpit?
Flying foxes are back! Both Grey Lynn and Western Park have great flying foxes. Standing hoops and half courts are also located at many playgrounds.
These changes are part of Waitematā Local Board's aim to provide quality parks and open spaces for its community.