I'm a writer blogger who has been resident in the Hutt Valley since the late 1960's. I'm a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I have seen many people come and go over the years, seen many things good and bad. Time to remember whanau
Published October 6th 2016
The iconic family orientated Avalon Park in Lower Hutt has reopened after Stage Two of its multi-million dollar redevelopment.
It was temporarily closed late in 2015 for earthwork and installation of new facilities. It was originally due for reopening about a month ago, but technical difficulties put this back to October 2.
Mother Nature didn't help but the public braved inclement weather and wet underfoot conditions to sample the new facilities. However, the rain stopped after lunch and hundreds of children and adults were able to enjoy the new facilities better - a large comprehensive play landscape including wet play areas.
Over 3.5 million dollars has been spent of the 5 million dollar plus budget on the first two stages. The third and final stage will take place during 2016-17 - the creation of a new main entrance on Fairway Drive and parking areas. The completion of the facilties will be undertaken during this time.
The junior or Under Five areas include a sandpit, swings, slides and small climbing structures. There will also be an artificial stream or 'water rill' which includes wet play equipment, a theme of the new development. While this area is not enclosed like the old area, toddler supervision will be very important and catered for by parents and caregivers. The area is designed to encourage users to play within their own area. There is an area for parents and caregivers to sit and watch. There is a gradual change to the facilities designed for older children.
At times on Sunday morning and early afternoon it was difficult to see who was having the most fun, the children or the adults. There were tunnels, slides, climbing and abseiling walls, swings, trampolines, a flying fox and rope bridges to be tried out. There is also a custom made structure called the Helix, which crawls across the playground in a series of spirals.
The park which was so popular during the school holidays and weekends was closed late last year to allow the rebuild to take place. A Hutt City Council spokesman said 25% of the city is aged under 15 years old, so it was very important to develop and provide facilities like those at Avalon Park. Local youngsters had some input into the proposed designs of the new facilities.
The developers tried to retain some elements unique to the area. The designers had to strike a balance between excitement and ensuring there was protection from injury - thanks to the installation of a special matting. There are different types of play, there's tactile play, sensory play, and so much for the children to do at the new play area.