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Hauraki-Coromandel Post - 2021-06-10

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Playground for all community

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Rebecca Mauger For more information and to help fund the project visit givealittle.co.nz/cause/waihibeach-school-communityplayground

Waihi Beach School is the place to be. Most evenings, weekends, public and school holidays, families, sportspeople and holiday makers meet at the school for sport and fun. But Waihi Beach’s only school has a tired play area to cater for all its visitors. The school has started a campaign to raise funds towards a $500,000 bigger and better community playground — with the emphasis on “community”. The new playground will be for everyone, says principal Rachael Coll, and they welcome visitors to their school to use their grounds. The school is open to the public 24 hours a day, Coll says, and no gates hold people back. “We want people to come here, we want to do more and more things to get people here,” says board of trustees member Kelly Thrupp. “It’s going to be great for the community.” The current obstacle course and fitness trail was built by communityminded locals in 2001. The makers used whatever they could get their hands on to create the space. But they desperately need a multipurpose area upgrade, Coll says, as there is nothing out there in the local community like what they are proposing. “To enjoy facilities like these, families would have to travel as far afield as O¯ mokoroa, Tauranga or even Hamilton.” The current playground caters for juniors, with little here for senior students, she says. Two years ago, the senior children were consulted and came up with a plan for a ninja warrior obstacle course with swings, climbing net and bridge, pommel rings, double wheel trek, double balance rope, gladiator rings as well as a huge sandpit, inground trampolines, a water-play station, a 25 metre flying fox, basketball hoops, a bike trek, barbecue area and picnic tables. “Treasure boxes” containing sports equipment and activities would be available for all. New soft fall turf would be required, which is the most expensive part of a new playground. The community playground would extend out onto the existing field. The school has turned to crowdfunding to work towards their goal. They have secured funds of $110,000, with more due when the project is under way, but need to raise a further $300,000 from the community. They are constantly applying to funding from different organisations and hope to make a start later this year.

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