A Te Awamutu resident is concerned at the state of Centennial Park on Rewi Street and says dead trees with branches and limbs collapsing, overgrown vegetation and makeshift mountainbike tracks have all left the park a safety hazard.

Craig Costello has lived close to the park for about 20 years and says the upkeep of it has been neglected in the past four years.

"This park used to be absolutely outstanding at one stage but now it is just a danger," said Craig.

He has informed the Waipa District Council, of his concerns numerous times and has now come to the end of his tether after a scare in the park recently after he watched a branch collapse close to where a friend of his was standing.

"I came down to walk my dog with my friend and his dog when I saw the branch give way and from the angle I was standing I thought it had fallen on my friend, I couldn't get over there quick enough," said Craig.

"I've explained to council my concerns about the dropping of tree limbs and they've even admitted to me that some parts of the park have reached their life span."

Advertisement
One of the trees along the track that has had a branch fall. Photo / Caitlan Johnston
One of the trees along the track that has had a branch fall. Photo / Caitlan Johnston

There are a number of other trees around the park tracks that have blunt lesions from where a branch has fallen.

Waipa District Council's community facilities team leader Brad Ward said trees in parks and reserves are reviewed on a four-year maintenance cycle with removal of tree limbs in high use areas carried out when required.

Craig is also concerned by how overgrown the plants and bushes are that surround the tracks noting that one part is so overgrown it has swallowed up a track.

"We have been made aware of the activities, mentioned by Mr Costello, in Centennial Park and are actively involved in maintaining vegetation that has overgrown or in need of attention," responded Brad.

On the same tracks, Craig has seen youth come in and dig up the ground and trees to make their own mountain bike tracks and jumps.

Brad responded to this concern stating "young people creating jumps and tracks through existing tracks is of minimal concern as there are no formal walking tracks through this park. If staff identifies any health and safety concerns relating to informal use, they will action this as appropriate".

A mountain bike track believed to have been made by youth pictured in the centre. Photo / Caitlan Johnston
A mountain bike track believed to have been made by youth pictured in the centre. Photo / Caitlan Johnston

However Craig believes the makeshift tracks have made the existing tracks unsafe to use.

"They're all just ripping up the track, they've pumped them so hard that anyone who walks them is really risking their health," said Craig.

Advertisement

Council is assigning a portion of their budget into putting toilets in the park next year.

Concerns about people riding motorbikes, dirt bikes and go-karts were also relayed by Craig and Council has advised anyone who sees this type of activity should call them or the police as unauthorised vehicles are not be used in parks.