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Berhampore playground set for makeover

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The Jeypore Street Play Area has been saved from demolition. P H OTO : Jamie Adams

By Jamie Adams

A playground in Berhampore is set for an upgrade after successful efforts to stop its closure. Wellington City Council attempted to close the Jeypore Street Play Area in 2014 with plans to create a “super playground” at Wakefield Park. However local residents and MP Paul Eagle campaigned successfully to save it for families. Recreation Portfolio holder and Southern Ward Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, who was not a member of Council at the time, says small well-fenced playgrounds such as Jeypore are very important and well-loved, particularly by toddlers in the area. “Families in Berhampore and beyond sent a very strong message to the Council that this playground plays an important role in their lives and should be saved.” Fleur is also pleased the Council is investing in upgrading it.

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“I encourage families to have their say in the upgrade of playgrounds to ensure that the Council understands the views of families who use these playgrounds.” The woman who led the campaign to save Jeypore St Play Area was Wilhelmina van der Aa, who died in October 2016. A mother involved in the campaign, Ann Thomson, says Wilhelmina would have been thrilled with the outcome and future plans. “It’s an important part of our neighbourhood and community and she really pressured the council to keep it as a park,” Ann says. “What’s great about it is that is fully fenced so kids can’t bolt on to the street.” The fact it is in a cul-de-sac near Berhampore School also made it important. “I know teachers take special needs students to the park throughout the day.” The planned improvements include installation of a wooden play structure with a slide and a climbing wall, and an upgraded swing.

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