Tauranga residents lead park upgrade

TCC planning and design manager, spaces and places Doug Spittle; local resident John little; and TCC’s landscape architect Clinton Bowyer stand at the upgraded Kulim Park.

Kulim Park’s upgrade design was started from scratch when locals said ‘No’ to Tauranga City Council’s original plans.

Hearing local park lovers’ voices, the community and council have collaborated brilliantly to revamp Kulim Park for all to enjoy.

The park was first recognised as needing a do-up back in 2007.

“The park had become very tired and a bit unloved and functioned as a carpark instead of a green space park,” says TCC planning and design manager, spaces and places, Doug Spittle.

Since the official project initiation in 2017, 10 years on the park upgrade has seen huge community involvement.

“We got an initial design done, which was completed in 2018, and it was ready to start but then there was a bit of an uproar because some people in the local community said: ‘That’s really not what we want’ and we actually completely restarted the design process,” says Doug.

The final park design that was approved by council was referred to as the ‘Residents’ Design’.
“Some people in the community have literally put in 100 hours of their own time – unpaid – to contribute to the outcome that we’ve got now. That’s something you’ve really got to take your hat off to,” says Doug.

With upgrades to the playground, parking and pathway layout – among others – Doug says Kulim Park can now better cater for the ‘three Ps’ which are picnicking, paddling and play.”

Being “gifted” to Tauranga City in the 1950s by famers, W.I.Rushton and the Sickling brothers, for “children’s recreation”, Doug says the park now meets this purpose.
“There’s so much more safety now and area for play [without] having to monitor your kids closely with play equipment because the road’s right next to it or there’s cars driving everywhere all over the grass.”

Doug gives special thanks to Higgins, which has been hard at work on the park’s construction.
“They’ve really pulled out the stops with this project for the city once again.”

The playground was opened on target at the end of 2021 to be enjoyed during summer.

Working with local hapu, Ngai Tamarawaho and Tauwhao, Doug says many elements in the park include cultural design features, including the playground surface and upgraded 3x3 basketball court.

With the parks finishing touches now complete, there will be a family fun day on Saturday, May 7 (cancellation/rain day May 14) from 1pm-4pm to celebrate the park’s upgrade. So get along and enjoy this renewed park space!

For more information on the park upgrade, visit: https://www.tauranga.govt.nz/our-future/projects-and-open-consultations/kulim-park-upgrade


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