This page contains information about the recent petition calling for a fence around the playground at the Town Basin.
25/07/2017 7:54 p.m.
Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai says one of the arts to democracy is to balance conflicting viewpoints while adapting to changing views and conditions at the same time.
“The recent petition calling for a fence around the playground at the Town Basin is a good example.”
Mayor Mai said Council had not yet received the petition, “but when it does we have processes for assessing what people are asking for, taking in to account rules, safety concerns, budgets and other factors.
“Our position up until now has been not to fence playgrounds, and that parents and caregivers will supervise their children when they are in these outdoor environments.
“We have no record, to the best of my knowledge, of a child falling into the water or running onto the road from the Town Basin playground. There has been a playground on that site since 1995, the equipment was revamped in 2008 and since then has become the most used playground in the District.
“In fact, it is so popular that we are looking at the possibility of building another destination playground on Pohe Island in years to come.
Mayor Mai said she had received feedback from those with strong views in favour of a fence and from others who believed learning to play in an unfenced area is part of a child’s development.
“We are reluctant to create a false sense of security that encourages parents to leave their children in a fenced area without supervision.
“In these situations, parents may fail to see and respond to children slipping in and out of the gate behind other people, or miss interactions with others that they would normally want to control.
Mayor Mai said Council’s Health and Safety Department had evaluated the playground and supported the current approach.
“We also checked with several Councils from around the North Island. None of those we spoke to had a policy around fencing playgrounds.
“Where playgrounds had been fenced it had been funded by the local community – as is the case at the Ngunguru playground.
“We believe we have got it about right, but conditions and community views can change over time so it is important to revisit things from time to time. When the petition comes in we will consider it with open minds.”