Jack Stephens was increasingly worried about the dangers of crossing the Gray Ave and Beachwater Grove intersection in Paraparaumu Beach.

The busy intersection is close to Paraparaumu Beach School, which he goes to, and is used a lot by children.

He decided to highlight the issue, as part of a Pride Challenge programme, by writing a letter to the Kapiti News which was published in March.

Jack's letter said, "I walk to school every day and have noticed it's becoming more and more difficult to cross the road at Beachwater Grove.


"Cars speed up and down the road and in both the morning and afternoon there is a lot of traffic.

"While there is a crossing outside of school, there is no other safe point for kids to cross the road if they are heading towards Mazengarb Rd.

"There are lots of kids that ride their scooters and bikes while crossing the road unsafely so there could be a potential accident.

"The crossing does not have to be like the ones outside of school all it needs to be is a median crossing with a safe stopping point halfway.

"It's only going to be a matter of time before someone is hurt or worse, killed.

"I hope no one ever has to see such a tragedy so that's why I sent this letter to you."

Jack's letter gained the attention of Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan who contacted the council's roading team who checked out the intersection and decided a pedestrian refuge could be a viable solution.

The project was approved, the refuge, nicknamed Jack's Island, has been installed and a ceremony was conducted on Wednesday to officially open it.

Jack Stephens on a pedestrian refuge he instigated.
Jack Stephens on a pedestrian refuge he instigated.

Jack, 10, and Gurunathan cut a ribbon, held by Jack's mother Nicola Stephens and traffic engineer Gary Adams, and was watched by room one classmates.

"I spotted the letter and thought 'wow what a really great initiative'," Gurunathan told pupils.

"Safety is so important."

Teacher Vanessa Brewer said the area of roading at 3pm was "quite terrifying".

"Some kids don't make good choices when they're crossing this corner.

"I've seen it myself and it has been frightening.

"So at least this pedestrian refuge gives us a bit of peace of mind that they can wait in the middle safely."

"When I first sent the letter to the editor I never dreamt it would go this far," Jack said.

"The refuge is awesome and we use it every day. It also makes cars more aware of children crossing the road.

"It feels great knowing that I have contributed to the community in this way by coming up with this idea.

"I am very grateful that the council listened to my suggestion."