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Something for everyone . . . Updated images of the planned Caroline Bay Playground show the range of activities included. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

by Claire Allison

The committee behind plans for a new playground at Caroline Bay is hoping to find a philanthropist willing to invest in the project.

While community support for the planned $2.2million playground is continuing -with the most recent substantial donation of $50,000 from local transport firm Hilton Haulage are keen for a big boost to bring fundraising closer to the target and ensure construction can begin next year.

CPlay committee chairman Owen Jackson said the committee had substantial funding applications under consideration -$250,000 with the Community Trust of Mid and South Canterbury, and $150,000 each from Pub Charities and the Lion Foundation.

“But no-one is putting their hand up saying, you know what, this is for the welfare of our children, to create a fun, challenging playground that’s good for children and families and is inclusive.

“This would provide someone with the opportunity to give something back to the community that would be really special, and be there for generations to come.”

Mr Jackson said an example of that support happened in Oamaru recently, with Papakaio couple Doug and Donna Hurst donating $5 million to the Waitaki Event Centre to help create “a wonderful legacy for the community”.

Total costs are now expected to be $2.2 million -with increases due to price rises and additions of inclusive equipment $1.4million in the bank, leaving a shortfall of about $800,000.

While fundraising efforts continue, the committee’s design team is working with Whanganui firm The Playground Centre.

“The design team has been working with The Playground Centre to make sure that the pieces are the very best pieces we can get for our money.

“We’ve gone really hard on authenticity for the bespoke items shipwreck that, as much as we can, that they are inclusive.

“So a child in a wheelchair can get right up to the wheel, spin the wheel and ring the bell and can go underneath and into the shipwreck.

“We’ve done everything that can possibly be done within the budget to make it inclusive.”

As Christmas and summer holidays loom, the committee plans to ensure the project has a high profile.

Members have borrowed an advertising trailer and signs for the six-week holiday period and a large billboard is being installed at the playground with the option of scanning in to make an automatic donation.

“We’ll be doing a big push over Christmas and New Year.”

The committee expects to hear the results of its major funding applications by the middle of December.

“By Christmas, we want to know, here’s what we need to do’.”