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Tuesday, 21 May 2019 06:42 pm

Seatoun community fighting council to keep their local treasure

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ALL-AGE HUB: City Councilor Paul Eagle and local MP Annette King were joined by locals of all ages to support the treasured park at a public meeting on Saturday.

SEATOUN residents have until Friday to tell Wellington City Council why it should not to take away their local treasure – Seatoun Park Playground.

More than 30 residents gathered at the park to voice their concerns to councillors at a public meeting on Saturday.

The passionate group explained how the playground is the hub of their community, more so than the other local playground council has chosen to maintain.

Mike Jones, who has lived in Seatoun his whole life, said the park was gifted to the people of Seatoun.

“Last week, the Hurricanes were training on the field and the playground was completely full with kids from St Anthony’s school.”

Andrew Paterson, a Seatoun resident of 17 years, said in daytime the park is packed with kids and families playing sports, but at night the park is used by teenagers as a safe hang out space.

“This space doesn’t seem like anything, but it’s the center of the community,” he said.

The park is the latest space facing closure following council policy to keep playgrounds at least 600m away from each other.

Instead of maintaining the space, they have instead budgeted $125,000 to upgrade the nearby Churchill Park Playground on Seatoun Beach.

Susan Stanford, who is leading the public campaign, urged the council to come into the community and see how the playground serves a completely different purpose to the Churchill Park playground.

She says the council needs to visit Seatoun Park in the middle of winter when the children play while their families play soccer or on a beautiful day when Churchill park playground is too packed with visitors.

City councilor Paul Eagle said he got a flyer out to every house in the Seatoun and bays area, and set up the online petition on change.org.

Since then, the petition has gathered over 500 signatures.

The council had originally just put up an A4 information sheet at the playground, which residents said was not enough to tell the community what was happening.

Annie Newell told councilors it would have been better if the council had put a note about the closure on the recent rates bill.

“If the council put our rates on a little sign like that, I doubt they would get much money from us.”

Mrs Stanford agreed, saying if it weren’t for their supportive councillors Paul Eagle and Simon Marsh they would not even know that the playground was going to be closed until it was already gone.

Mr Marsh, an Eastern Ward councillor, told locals at the meeting to demonstrate the use of the playground to save it from being closed.

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SUBMISSIONS DUE: This message. posted outside Seatoun Tunnel, is urging residents make a submission to the council by Friday.

“Prove to the council that this is something that is really necessary for the community, that you’ll use it with your kids and grandkids,” he said.

Council policy planner Rebecca Ramsay attended the meeting and , said the policy that says they should be 600m apart are just guidelines and there is some grey area around it.

“It’s really important that council does get submissions from the community when they make their decision.”

Residents have until December 5 to make their submissions to the council.

The decision to save or close the park will be made in April next year.

People can sign the petition to save the park here or you can make a submission to the council here.

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