A free water feature at Flaxmere Park was used by hundreds of youngsters yesterday in weather which could hardly have been better for the opening of what some see as the first stage of a 10-year plan to develop the park.
The Splash Pad was installed by the Hastings District Council in response to community needs, in which locals said they wanted facilities like a Splash Pad opened at Cornwall Park two years ago.
But with the help of the Trust House Community Enterprise and the Flaxmere Licensing Trust, the people of Flaxmere have got even more, with three features added to the original hoop tunnel concept for which the council budgeted $130,000.
Mayor Lawrence Yule declared the Splash Pad open, amid a day of celebration including stage performances by young people of the area, and the presentation of certificates of appreciation to five schools involved in artwork now featuring in the park.
The council's Flaxmere ward member, Henare O'Keefe, said council staff also "went beyond the call of duty" in getting the facilities ready.
"It was more than a job for them," he said. "It was a labour of love, I'm sure."
He said it would bring a new sense of community "ownership" to the park, and the council and community leaders hope it will help curtail vandalism in the area.