Abberley Park back to original plans

PARK: The Abberley Park playground which will soon be upgraded to take up almost twice the amount of green space shown here.

Playground upgrades at a suburban park are set to go ahead inspite of a community group lobbying against them.

The Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board approved  $150,000 upgrades to the Abberley Park playground that will see it take up twice the amount of space it is now.

But Friends of Abberley Park, a volunteer group that does maintenance around the park, were against the concept.

They lost their bid to see the footprint of the playground move in order to take up less of the park’s green space.

The board decided to stick with the original upgrade plans approved last year by the Shirley-Papanui Community Board.

City council staff, councillor Aaron Keown and the group met at the park after a deputation was made to the community board in order to see if they could find a compromise.

A week after this meeting city council parks project manager Steven Gray went back to the group with a proposed change to the upgrade.

The playground had been moved 12m to the west to save some of the park’s versatile greenspace that was to be taken up by the new equipment.

The plans were presented to members of Friends of Abberley Park who said they were satisfied with the new proposal.

“It entirely won over the last Friends who had remained dubious,” the group said.

However, at their last meeting the board moved to maintain the status quo by supporting the initial plan approved by the Shirley-Papanui Community Board.

City councillor Jamie Gough voted against the motion and fellow city councillor Aaron Keown said he thought the matter was coming back for further discussion.

The secondary consultation worried members of the old Shirley-Papanui Community Board who did not want to see the project delayed any further.

City councillor and former board member Pauline Cotter said it had a very robust and thorough consultation process last year.

“The existing equipment is beyond its use-by date and safety quota so we really need to get on with it,” she said.

Friends of Abberley Park said it is disappointed with the outcome.

It said it hopes to grow in strength so it can be heard when issues around paddling pool retention are eventually raised.