‘Dinosaur park’ dreaming

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Whale of a project . . . Visiting Marlow Park in St Kilda on August 22 are Otago Polytechnic product design students (back from left) Nick Bowker-Napp (19), of Dunedin, Anna-Lena Stuck (23), of Germany, Charlotte Goodyear (23), of Dunedin, (front from left) Curtis Stent (19), of Mosgiel, Quinn Mitchell (19), of Gore, Tianyi Hou (24), of Beijing, and Griffin Hadland (19), of Mosgiel. PHOTOS: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A design project has been launched to help develop new play equipment for Dunedin’s “dinosaur park”.

Seven second-year product design students at Otago Polytechnic have taken on the project.

They have been given a month to develop concepts for new play equipment to be installed at Marlow Park in St Kilda, widely known as the “dinosaur park” because of its slide in the form of a dinosaur.

Eight Rotary Clubs in the wider Dunedin area have united to overhaul the St Kilda playground.

At the launch of the design project at the polytechnic last week, Rotary Club of Dunedin South member Michael van Aart said the clubs wanted “fresh ideas” for “iconic” play equipment.

“The world’s your oyster.”

He hoped the first piece of equipment would be installed at the park in the summer of 2019-20.

The plan was to install a new piece of equipment each year for three or four years, he said.

The equipment should spark a user’s imagination and let them “become part of it”.

The new items should complement the existing play equipment.

Students needed to design play equipment which was practical to build, safe to use and accessible.

“This is an opportunity to come up with something cool that we can make part of Dunedin’s history.”

The public would be consulted on the selected designs, he said.

A story on the overhaul of the park in The Star in April sparked a positive response, businesspeople offering to “throw their labour and materials” at the project, Mr van Aart said.

Dunedin had a “can-do attitude”.

The club was investigating including an area in the park for mobile food vendors to operate from in summer.

Seating could be installed in the food vendors’ area to attract more people to the park, he said.

“We want people to go there as a destination.”

The Rotary Club of Dunedin South led a project to get play equipment installed in the park from the late 1960s, including the dinosaur slide, the whale and Saddle Hill tunnels.

People used to travel from across the South to visit the park, he said.

“It’s not at that standard now but it could get back there in another five years.”

Otago Polytechnic senior design lecturer Andrew Wallace said the students would produce concepts designed to “excite and entice”.

Design student Charlotte Goodyear (23), of Dunedin, said she was excited to be part of the project.

“I’m feeling inspired.”