Avast, mateys - pirates sail back to Splash Planet

By Victoria White

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A pirate ship-themed water playground like this artist's impression is all-but confirmed for Splash Planet.
A pirate ship-themed water playground like this artist's impression is all-but confirmed for Splash Planet.

Replacements of two Hastings pirate ships damaged in three arson attacks will soon be rising from their ashes.

Hastings District Council has revealed plans for a new pirate ship-themed playground at Splash Planet to replace its 20-metre wooden ship which was destroyed by arsonists in April last year.

The fire, for which three youths were later caught, scuttled the vessel which was an original attraction when the park was established as Fantasyland.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said: "It hasn't been easy finding just the right piece of equipment for the right age group in the right price bracket that has a tie to the old pirate ship we lost but we've done it, and we're sure everyone will be looking forward to seeing it in the flesh."

Before the ship was damaged in the fire it had been roped off as it was considered a safety risk, and Mr Yule said council did not want to "replace like with like, and have the same issue."

The new playground will be the latest in water technology and would be fitted into the outdoor toddlers' pool.

It was designed for smaller children with low rope-climbing structures and plenty of safety rails but with the thrill of being doused with water.

The ship was worth more than $300,000, and the insurance pay-out from its loss would pay for the new equipment, along with a top-up from Splash Planet's capital fund.

"The older children and adults have a whole range of fun and exciting rides at Splash Planet so it is great to be able to put something in that carries on the theme of the old pirate ship but will give the littlies a fun water experience," Mr Yule said.

After the ship was destroyed, another was bought from Germany and installed at the neighbouring Lions Community Park as homage to the wrecked vessel.

However, in January, the ship, which had been in use less than three months, was damaged in two arson attacks less than 48 hours apart.

A Hastings District Council spokeswoman said it has since been repaired, with its mural currently being repainted, and it should be completed by the end of June.

A sensor security light had also been installed, which would trigger a camera covering the area when activated by movement.

If the Splash Planet play equipment purchase was confirmed, it would be installed over the next four months, to be ready for the opening of the summer season in November.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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