Park fitness battle ignites

By Amie Hickland

Outdoor fitness equipment for senior citizens may no longer be placed in a Masterton park, because a dispute over its location has not been resolved.

The Rotary Club of Masterton South wants to install four pieces of exercise equipment in a public place, at a cost of about $40,000.

It had agreed to fund the project, and approached the Masterton District Council late last year for permission to place the fitness equipment on council land.

It was agreed the equipment should be sited in Queen Elizabeth Park, and the parks and open spaces task group recommended that it be put in front of the croquet lawn, parallel to the northern wall at Hosking Garden.

But at its meeting last month, the council decided instead that the equipment would be put in the green area parallel to a stream next to Kid's Own Playground (Option A).

Councillor Gary Caffell said at Wednesday's council meeting he was disappointed in the council for not considering the club's unanimous decision of where the stations should go.

"I just want to voice a little bit of disappointment in terms of the decisions with the fitness stations," he said.

He had previously warned the council the club would withdraw their offer if their preferred option was not agreed to.

He said it was unfair that a club letter written to deputy mayor Jane Terpstra outlining this, was not presented at the last meeting while the recommendation from a landscape architect supporting the council's preference for Option A was also not discussed.

"What wasn't brought to the meeting was a letter from Rotary Club ... which set out very plainly they would not consider Option A at all," said Mr Caffell.

"It was unanimous that all members preferred that site."

Mrs Terpstra said councillors were aware of the club's stance. "I said it was clearly indicated that it was their preferred site," she said.

Councillor Pip Hannon said she believed the club had originally agreed to let council decide on the site.

"At the very beginning when we were first discussing it, we were given the option to chose," she said.

"We all had our specific reasons why we chose that site."

Mayor Garry Daniell said the matter was closed and the decision had been made.

"The reality is we've actually passed the motion.

"This was approved and that really is the end of that matter," he said.

Rotary Club community director Ian Hollings confirmed the club had received the letter from council and would meet next week to further discuss the issue.


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