Playcentre no longer treading water

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Macandrew Bay Playcentre has bounced back after three “soul-destroying” floods.

The playcentre’s playground has undergone a facelift after it was damaged by three floods in the past three years.

The most recent flood, which happened earlier this year, hit just days after the new artificial turf was laid and before the revamped playground was due to open.

Playcentre treasurer Audrey Ross said the playground was covered in “thick, stinky mud”, which had to be quickly removed from the turf.

Since then other aspects of the playground have had to be rebuilt, such as the fort and vegetable garden. The sand pit was dug up and replaced, and new wood chips and safety matting were laid.

Playcentre president Rebekah Gray said it was “phenomenal” to finally have the playground open.

“Our kids did not have a playground for four terms and now we have kids that can run from one end to the other.

“Our kids have coped very well but we are very pleased to have it back.”

Ms Gray said although this year’s flood was not as bad as the other two, it was “soul-destroying” to have it happen again.

The playcentre received funding from the Otago Peninsula Community Board and Bendigo Valley Trust, which allowed it to buy extra features, such as paint, a handrail, picnic tables and accessories for the fort.

They planned on getting a local artist to paint a mural on the wall behind the fort.

Ms Gray said the playcentre had a close relationship with Macandrew Bay School and she was appreciative the children were allowed to use the school’s playground while theirs was out of action for about a year.

Council engineering services team leader Jared Oliver said since the flooding the council had constructed a “bund” – a mound of earth – and “baffle wall” to redirect water away from the playcentre and school.

It also provided the playcentre with “hydro snakes” to put in front of gaps in the fence, like gates.

The snakes, which were sourced from the United Kingdom, absorb water and help to create a barrier.

The next step was to remove weeds from up the stream which, during a flood, get dislodged and block the stream, and replace them with native plants.

“We are still also looking at other options we can do to further alleviate the flooding in the area.”

Ms Gray said it was “heart-warming” to see the playground being used again.

“We have finally got a playground back and the kids are just loving it.”