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Revamped Luggate playground welcomed after long wait

The Wānaka App

Staff Reporters

12 May 2024, 5:04 PM

Revamped Luggate playground welcomed after long waitLuggate’s new playground will be “a cornerstone of the community”.

Luggate families welcomed a new and improved place for their children to play at the opening of the Hopkins Street Playground yesterday (Sunday May 12).

Maru Dawson (7) was chosen to cut the ribbon with mayor Glen Lewers because it was his seventh birthday today. Maru also got to be the first to try out the new flying fox.

The playground’s main features (including the flying fox) have been out of action since 2021.

The Hopkins Street playground was closed by Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) staff for 18 months while the adjacent Luggate Memorial Centre was built. Just before it reopened in December 2022, two of its key attractions - the flying fox and swings - were deemed unsafe and removed by QLDC staff.

Seven-year-old Maru Dawson helps mayor Glyn Lewers cut the ribbon for the new playground.

Wānaka Upper Clutha Community Board member Barry Bruce (the board’s representative on the Luggate Community Association) recalled receiving a phone call from association chair Rod Anderson, asking: “Where has the playground gone?” 

Barry acknowledged the patience of the community as they had to wait years from the time the former playground was inaccessible during the construction of the new hall.

He also thanked a number of people for their contributions to the playground and Sport Otago for hosting play sessions at the hall while the playground was out of action.

“The new playground will serve the younger generations well for many years,” Barry said.

Rod thanked those in the community who got behind the association to push ahead with the playground project. “There’s been an awful lot of effort by these people to get this playground up and running,” he said.

Community input helped shape the final playground design.

He also reminded elected representatives and council staff that there was still a promise to replace Luggate’s former tennis courts (which were dug up to make way for the temporary hall and the new hall) with a much needed replacement hard court area, adding now that the playground was finished the council “should not lose sight of this project”.

QLDC parks officer Diana Manson said the community’s “invaluable input” had helped shape the final playground design - which now includes both swings, a new double flying fox and other features like a climbing structure. She added that her staff had worked hard to get the playground going. 

“These things take time…and we have tried hard to get the best equipment that’s here now.”

As for the future promised hard court area, it wouldn’t be within the Hopkins Street playground reserve, she said. 

“There’s not enough room for it in this reserve. We looked really closely at possibilities when we were planning this playground and realised there just wasn’t enough room.”

“It will be at another location that’s yet to be confirmed,” she said.

Diana also thanked Plot Landscape Architecture and Green By Nature for their help with the design for the new playground, which she said will be “a cornerstone of the community”.

PHOTOS: Wānaka App