Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Playground a magnet for condoms and needles, say residents

Residents of a seaside suburb in South Auckland are unhappy a children's playground is going ahead, saying it will attract undesirables leaving needles and condoms.

Local resident Chris Martin said squeals of delight from kids playing wasn't the problem but "night-time activity" at the playground had him worried.

The pre-school playground planned for Milano Reserve in Karaka includes trike tracks, swings, a slide and seating for parents.

"I like kids, I have four of them and would like grandkids, but the concern is after hours," he said.

"There is a reserve here where they have found condoms and needles and KFC wrappers and this playground will attract a gathering of undesirables who will use it for their own entertainment."

Mr Martin's house is 10 metres from the proposed playground and he said the park would also ruin his view of the water.

"It is an avenue of views and it doesn't seem fit to put pipes, climbing structures, slides and other ugly paraphernalia that doesn't fit."

Mr Martin was one of a number of residents who opposed the playground at a Papakura Local Board meeting in April last year. The group only succeeded in quashing plans for a flying fox.

A resident who did not want to be named said the opposition to the Milano Reserve flying fox was not just about noise, but because "undesirable hoons" would use it at night.

Another resident, Dianne Cartmer, has sold more than 400 sections in the subdivision as a real estate agent for the developer Karaka Harbourside Estates. "All of the people I sold to were older or elderly so I don't see the need for a pre-school playground," she said.

Data from QV showed the average age for the area was 51.

She said the designers of the subdivision intended for the area to be an open space for community gatherings and semi-recreational sports.

"Trying to retrofit a playground into this location will generate adverse effects on the surrounding houses which was never intended," Mrs Cartmer said.

Work started on the council-owned reserve this month but opposed residents discovered resource consent for earthworks was needed and work has temporarily ceased.

Auckland Council's manager for local parks, Martin van Jaarsveld, said the initial plans for the playground didn't require earthworks but additional planting and drainage were needed and work was halted.

Mr van Jaarsveld said the Harbourside community didn't have a playground and needed one.

"The location was ... a place where young children can have fun, develop their confidence and co-ordination skills."

Mr van Jaarsveld said the reserve site was an important development for families moving to the area.

Auckland Council said it received strong support for the playground, with 38 residents backing the proposal and "a small number" against.

- NZ Herald

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