Reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Too loud to play: Stonefields flying fox disabled

Council shuts down play equipment after complaints from neighbouring residents.

Complaints led to the council erecting signs and starting a noise assessment at the playground. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Complaints led to the council erecting signs and starting a noise assessment at the playground. Photo / Jason Oxenham

A flying fox in a children's adventure playground has been temporarily disabled after noise complaints from residents.

An Auckland Council sign at Playtime Park, next to the Stonefields estate at the base of Mt Wellington, explains that tests carried out showed that noise generated by flying fox users "exceed levels permitted in the residential area".

According to the sign, the council was looking at options - including relocating the flying fox - and the community would be advised on the next steps soon.

Orakei local board member Kit Parkinson confirmed the flying fox had been disabled, but said he would know more about what had happened after a meeting today.

In November, the Herald reported that residents had complained about noise and kids' "squealing" coming from the flying fox at the playground, which opened in September, as well as large sand areas used to create a landing zone beneath the equipment.

Resident Alan Gilder said then: "I would like the flying fox removed. It does get very noisy on the weekend and there's sand everywhere. I certainly didn't expect to have a beach on my doorstep."

The complaints led to the council erecting signs and starting a noise assessment at the playground, which backs on to the homes of several residents.

Yesterday, a photo of the council sign was shared on social media by community group Auckland For Kids, garnering outraged comments.

"You are kidding me!!! What, so the kids are squealing too loudly with pure fun and joy and the neighbours say it's too loud?? What is this world coming to!!?" wrote Facebook user Julia Holdom.

"Fun police strike again. So sorry to all those people offended by kids having fun," wrote Joanne Mahon.

"This is not reflective of all Stonefields residents," wrote Tarusha Naidoo.

"We are residents and find this decision appalling! It's a handful of people who were aware they were buying next to a playground who object."

The playground was funded by the Orakei Local Board and was designed in consultation with local school kids to include the flying fox, water play features, forts, a sand area with diggers and a slide.

- NZ Herald

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