Wellington City Council has revealed designs for the new Frank Kitts playground, with work due to start on the waterfront site early next year.
The $6 million new design and upgrade will be a destination playground – a large scale play area with bespoke equipment, a nautical/coastal theme fitting for the waterfront site, and an accessible space for kids of all ages and abilities.
Chair of the Social, Cultural and Economic committee, Councillor Jill Day says the new playground will be worth the wait.
“This playground has been a long time coming, so we’re excited to see preparation work about to start on what will eventually become a wonderful experience and memory for thousands of Wellingtonians – and visitors to Pōneke.”
“Some people were disappointed by the removal of the slide, and the decommissioning of the lighthouse, but the new one will be just as large, fun and entertaining – just safer and more suitable for tamariki of all ages,” she said.
The refresh on the city’s playground matches Council’s vision for Wellington 2040 – to make Wellington an inclusive, sustainable and creative capital for people to live, work and play, says Play Spaces Specialist, Matthew Beres.
“With the redesign, we’ve integrated active, imaginative and cognitive play opportunities across terraced play spaces stepping up from the harbour edge. The terraced spaces will provide a variety of play experiences, some of which are specifically designed for different age groups,” Mr Beres said.
“The northern edge is framed by the waka play deck, and at the eastern end an abstracted tug bow separates the playground from the waterfront promenade.
“We have worked the design around many of the existing Pōhutakawa trees so they can remain, while others were transplanted to different spots in the park back in November 2021 to make space. One of these trees will be transplanted back into the playground to provide shade.”
Some of the other features include:
- 5 swings, including a basket swing; mirage swing; toddler swing and two standard swings;
- A new lighthouse, positioned to the western side of the playground;
- A dual flying fox.
Works are due to start Monday 10 January 2022, with the new playground expected to open in October.
The decommissioned lighthouse from the site will not be going to waste as it will be salvaged, diverting most materials from the landfill, Council said.
It said the domed roof will be refurbished and reused on the new lighthouse. The lighthouse’s seagull, chrome seashells and telescopes will be salvaged, refurbished and reused in the new playground.
The lighthouse has been purchased by an interested party and the removal, relocation, and associated costs will be paid for by the new owner – and a donation of $2,500 will be made to a charity of their choice.
The upgrade to Frank Kitts Park playground follows other recent projects in the region. The play areas at Pembroke Road, Pukehuia Park, Karori Park, Wall Park, Khandallah Library, Cummings Park, Kekerenga Street and Matairangi nature trail extension have all received a fresh face within the last two years.
The renewals at Elizabeth Street in Mount Victoria, Nuku Street in Strathmore and Shorland Park stage one in Island Bay will also be open in time for Christmas.
The play areas at Pirie Street in Mount Victoria, Waipapa in Hataitai, Breaker Bay, Harrison Street in Brooklyn, Chelsea Street in Miramar, Wadestown, Newtown Park, Helston Road and Ōwhiro Bay are also due for renewal, with feedback being collated following a consultation process.