|Artist impression of Waipuna Park playground when completed
|Artist impression of Waipuna Park basketball court when completed
A series of improvements to parks and reserves in Welcome Bay are on their way for summer, including a playground upgrade and a 3x3 basketball court for Waipuna Park, natural play equipment for Johnson Reserve and a new basket swing for Oteki Reserve.
Tauranga City Council asked the Welcome Bay community earlier this year what sort of improvements it would like to see in its parks and reserves. More than 180 people shared their wish lists, with many of the requested items starting to be rolled out across the community.
Among the new additions to Waipuna Park will be an updated playground, new swings, a 3x3 basketball court, a BBQ, new picnic tables and seating, and a new 400m long concrete pathway that starts at the northern end of the park, running alongside the top sports fields on Kaitemako Road and into and around the playground and basketball court.
New recycling bins will be installed near the Pavilion and cricket nets will be installed at the northern end of the park early next year after the sports fields have been upgraded.
Care has been taken to preserve the nearby historic walnut grove which has been left in its natural state for the community to enjoy.
The playground area is closed till 10 December to allow the new play equipment to be installed and the basketball court will be ready for action in early January.
New, natural play equipment constructed of timber and rope is being added at the southern end of Johnson Reserve near the Meander Drive entrance which is expected to be completed before Christmas, and new seating will be installed throughout the reserve early next year.
Oteki Reserve on Oteki Park Drive is also set to get some improved swings, including a basket swing, by the end of November. A new path, shade sails, picnic table and seating will be added early next year.
Shade sails will also be added to Riverstone Park on Waitaha Road and Maungarangi Reserve on Ballintoy Park Drive in March 2023.
Amanda Davies, Manager of Spaces and Places Project Outcomes at Tauranga City Council says feedback to both the Long-term Plan and the Whakahou Taketake Vital Update survey in 2020, and the engagement on the parks improvements earlier in the year showed people in Welcome Bay valued their parks and wanted more opportunities to enjoy them.
“People told us they wanted better playgrounds, more shade, improved pathways in reserves, and spaces that work well for lots of different people with more seats and picnic tables. We’re pleased to be able to start delivering on those things, especially in time for people to enjoy them over the summer.”
Anthony Ririnui, Ngāti Hē, says he’s pleased about the early involvement of hapū on this project and the ongoing involvement going forward.
“It’s heartening to see the work Council is doing on improving the parks and reserves across Welcome Bay. They’ve included us right from the start and for us that’s really important as this project is more than just improvements. It’s an opportunity to tell our cultural narrative and share our rich history of this area with the community.”
Deborah Warn and her three children, aged 15, 12 and nine years old, live next door to Waipuna Park and are particularly excited to see the addition of some swings and the basketball court.
“It’s so wonderful to see some new play equipment being installed for the kids to use. Mr 15 has spotted the basketball court under construction and is really looking forward to it.”
For more information about the Welcome Bay parks improvements project visit www.tauranga.govt.nz/welcomebayparks