Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Nelson confirms new play site

Nelson’s Rutherford Park has been confirmed as the site of a new destination playground that will cater for all ages, the city’s council has announced.

The playground is part of Nelson City Council’s Te Ara ō Whakatū strategy for the city centre, which aims to encourage people to visit, spend time and live in the city.  

The park was confirmed as the location for the new playground by elected members at a Council meeting last Thursday. The playground will be positioned alongside the Maitai Shared Pathway to the south of the ‘Old Lumpy’ skate area.  

Acting Mayor, Rohan O’Neill-Stevens says Rutherford Park is a prime, safe location with the potential for growth and importantly.

He said the decision would not preclude the addition of more play spaces throughout the city in the future. 

“If we want to reach a Margaret Mahy-style destination playground, then this could be the starting point to getting us to being home to the best playground in the country.”

“We want to incorporate play through the entirety of our city centre, weaving it through as a continuous thread in a way that brings people in and be a benefit to our city,” said Cr O’Neill-Stevens.

The project has a budget of $3.8 million, including a grant of $2.45 million from the Government’s Better Off Funding programme. The next step for the playground is to seek the views of iwi and the community on its design and equipment, Council said in a statement.

The City Centre Playspace Taskforce recommended Rutherford Park as its preferred option, primarily for its availability, size, potential for growth and location. Other possible sites for the playground considered were the former Suburban Bus Lines site on Bridge Street, currently used as the eBus hub, Riverside Park (adjacent to the Riverside Pool), and the current pop-up park location on Halifax Street.  

City Centre Playspace Taskforce Chair, Councillor James Hodgson says Rutherford Park is well connected to the city centre and will draw people in. 

“Discussions about a playground in this area have been going on for years, and I am so pleased to see it is finally coming to fruition for our local families.”

“Rutherford Park is the obvious choice to create a multigenerational space. The Council-owned area has already had significant investment, and the playground extends the opportunity to connect the city to the sea.

“It provides an open space for families to enjoy, while being well connected with excellent public transport, parking, and active transport connections.

“A high-quality destination playground will draw out child-like excitement from people of all ages, inspiring our community and visitors alike to come into Nelson to enjoy our city,” said Cr Hodgson. 

As part of the terms of the Better Off Funding grant, the project is required to be finished by the end of June 2027. 

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