A significant portion of the park was closed last year for construction of the new playground and splashpad.
The splashpad will be completed this winter, but due to the cold weather, won’t be operating until November.
Playground is worth the wait
The playground opened at 10.30am on Friday, becoming the most accessible and inclusive playground in the city.
The playground includes a poppy-themed fort on the site of the old playground, with two slides and nets.
Surrounding it are climbing tubes, balancing balls and ropes, trampolines, climbing walls, and a junior playground.
Parks and Reserves Manager, Kathy Dever-Tod, says the playground and surrounding pathways have been designed with ramps so everyone can play together.
“Previously we separated accessible play equipment off to the side and fenced it in. We want our parks and playgrounds to be as inclusive as possible so we use upgrades like this as an opportunity to include features to allow all children and their caregivers to play together.”
Water fountains and barbecues are also accessibility-friendly.
Ms Dever-Tod says the delay in the playground opening was due to requirements for the splashpad.
“Unfortunately, we had to wait for all the piping for the splashpad to be installed before we could complete the safety surfacing under the play equipment. We’ve completed that over the past fortnight, just in time for the upcoming school holidays.”
Splashpad to open closer to summer
The splashpad will be the only one in our region that is publicly accessible and free to use. Sitting next to the current paddling pool, it has separate areas for babies and toddlers, and older children. The section for under-5s is physically separated from the older kids' area by the main footpath, and also has a barrier around it to keep them safe. Within this area there is also a smaller section for babies. The all-ages area includes the only free supersoaker, a giant bucket that tips water, in the southern hemisphere.
We’re now waiting for the concrete foundations of the splashpad to cure before the equipment is installed.
“We had hoped to be able to open the splashpad while it was still warm, but we’ve had delays in getting materials and a shortage of contractors in the city.”
The splashpad construction area will remain fenced off to enable the playground to open.
Ms Dever-Tod says the splashpad will be turned on at the same time the paddling pool at Memorial Park and the Esplanade are filled for summer.
“We’re currently planning how we will celebrate this special day with our residents and funders, New Zealand Community Trust, Eastern and Central Community Trust, Lion Foundation and Mainland Foundation, who contributed $250,000 towards the splashpad.”