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Milestone . . . Celebrating the signing of contracts for the new Caroline Bay playground are (from left) CPlay committee chairman Owen Jackson, CPlay member Leanne Prendeville, Timaru District Council parks and recreation manager Bill Steans, CPlay project manager Graham Ward, CPlay members Vicki Gould and Brent Birchfield, and Timaru deputy mayor Steve Wills. PHOTO: SUPPLIED --

by Claire Allison

Construction of the new $2.2million Caroline Bay playground will begin this winter, as contracts were signed this week with Whanganui-based company Playground Centre.

After passing the $2million mark in the fundraising journey, the CPlay team appointed Playground Centre to carry out the detailed design and supply of the play equipment that will be the centrepiece of the new attraction.

The company will supply and install new standard items such as swings and slides, but also design and construct the items designed specifically for Timaru, including the shipwreck, lighthouse and sea-rescue-themed flying fox.

CPlay chairman Owen Jackson said it was fantastic to see more than five years of work now coming to fruition.

“This is the biggest playground project ever undertaken in the South Canterbury region and it’s been an exhaustive process for our volunteer CPlay design team to get to this stage.

“We have been extremely grateful for the time and energy that our design team Chris and Roselyn Fauth, John Rushton and Graham Ward have given to make sure that we deliver the best product possible at the best price.

“We are continuing to receive some inspiring support from the community as we work our way towards the $2.2million fundraising goal and that has been incredibly heart-warming.

“On behalf of the CPlay committee those financial supporters and well-wishers who have joined us on the journey so far but remember the job is not done yet!

“There is a real buzz happening in our community over the health, well-being and economic benefits this playground will offer the Timaru district.”

Replacing the 1970s playground that generations of young Timaru children have enjoyed, work on the $2.2million project will begin this winter, with initial construction planned to be completed by the end of the year.

The playground design encompasses both local Maori and European history and heritage, and will reflect the district’s strong connection to the sea.

CPlay project implementation and consultant lead Chris Fauth said that reaching the fundraising target and signing the supply contract allowed them to start enabling a new phase of the playground’s design.

“To handle your donations responsibly CPlay has delayed signing this contract until we were confident we could afford to construct and install the full range of desired playground items to engage all ages and abilities.

But this is not the end of our fundraising effort.

“Through consultation with the community, we learnt that this space deserves to be so much more than simply putting play equipment in the ground.

“There is another level of detailed design that will provide huge benefits around accessibility, family gathering, promotion of arts, culture, heritage, and landscaping.

“This design makes the space both more functional, but also more imaginative, educational, and interesting and will tell a unique Timaru story.

“We want to source these detailed design elements from the local community, so watch this space for opportunities to put your own stamp on the playground.”

The CPlay design and build contract is being managed on behalf of the committee by the Timaru District Council.