The Mosquito Point swing, which has been enjoyed by Whanganui River swimmers for more than 50 years, will be fully decommissioned and not replaced.
At a Whanganui District Council property and community services meeting on Tuesday, a majority of seven committee members voted in favour of the decommisioning option.
The committee, chaired by councillor Helen Craig, heard reports from senior parks manager Wendy Bainbridge, legal counsel Rob Goldsbury and property general manager Leighton Toy before voting on the proposal to either permanently remove the swing or consult the community on reinstatement.
Councillors Josh Chandulal-Mackay, Brent Crossan and Jenny Duncan, along with rural community board appointee Sandra Faulkner, voted against the recommendation while councillor Charlie Anderson said although he could not support the option he also could not vote for a second option involving consultation on revised designs which he deemed unsuitable.
Chandulal-Mackay said he had spent many happy hours on the swing as a teenager and spoke about the public's responsibility for personal safety.
"We have debated twice and decided to keep the swing," he said.
"I believe that our responsibility is to provide very clear advice to users."
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Duncan said members of her family have used the swing for generations without mishap and the move to decommission was erring too far on the side of caution.
Councillor Rob Vinsen moved that the proposal to decommission the swing be accepted and said there have always been safety issues.
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"It is not true that it used to be safe."
He recalled the case of a woman who broke both her ankles several years ago and said the council has no ability to control the river and ensure safe use of the swing.
A key issue for the council is that the swing cannot be made compliant with a New Zealand Playground Standard which requires a safe landing zone.
Investigation of potential options for replacement revealed that a reinstated swing would not comply with council policy or the National Playground Standard 5828:2015.
New design options based on further tilting the swing pole were provided and legal advice given on key issues associated with the swing.
Concerns included the safety of swimmers in that area of the river, the continuously changing depth of the landing zone due to the tidal nature of the river, the risk of submerged debris - and the unpredictability of the riverbank which could quite easily retreat or build up.
Councillor Alan Taylor, who opposed the reinstatement of the swing in 2018, said the option to decommission was the right one because public safety is the council's main responsibility.
"No amount of public consultation can change that," he said.
Councillor Kate Joblin said she supported the recommendation because there were too many variables with the swing.
"I'm comfortable with where council is at on this."
Councillor Hadleigh Reid, who previously supported the reinstatement of the swing, said he had changed his view.
"I was proud of the council for deciding to reinstate the swing last time but now I think we need to cut our losses and decommission."
Mayor Hamish McDouall has also changed his view after agreeing to ruin a suit for publicity purposes at the December 2018 relaunch of the swing.
"I was prepared to jump from the swing while wearing a suit but the water was too shallow even though it was close to high tide.
"I think the 2015 floods and other factors have affected that part of the river.
"I'm disappointed that we have to decommission the swing but let's find a safer place to install another one."
McDouall said it is significant that Ngā Paerangi, who are mana whenua of the area, do not allow their children to swim in the vicinity of Mosquito Point.
The metal pole which previously supported the swing was vandalised last year and has now been removed by council staff.