An innovative approach for major wastewater pipeline project infuses fun and play into new spaces.
As part of work to enable a new community in Peacocke, new wastewater pipes stretching 5.5km from Cobham Drive in the city’s south through to Crosby Road, were recently completed.
Starting in November 2020, the project required the digging up of grass berms and other earthworks.
However, rather than return those areas to how they were, Hamilton City Council staff, in partnership with Sport Waikato, saw a chance to inject some fun and colour.
“Recognising contractors would be digging up footpaths and planted areas, we saw a chance to create some new play opportunities for the local community when returning the area back to normal,” Council’s Local Play advocate from Sport Waikato Dr Damien Puddle said.
As part of the finishing works for the project, play features were installed along the Alderson Road to Wairere Drive underpass footpath, an area that was closed for part of the works.
The new playful and fun space has a painted footpath “maze”, an obstacle course of rocks and logs, and a spot to measure your jumping distance.
The design ideas were inspired by students from nearby Insoll Avenue School.
“This space isn’t designed to be a destination so they’re relatively simple play features that enable ‘play on the way’ to provide something fun for the community moving through the area.”
Council’s Play Strategy aims to provide a range of opportunities for people to engage in physical activity across the city. Its vision is to make Hamilton a great place for everyone to play.
Puddle said prior to the strategy, play was only considered at locations such as playgrounds, parks and sport facilities.
Council is committed to enabling play across its business units and the city.
“We know play happens everywhere and that Council’s capital projects can deliver innovative play opportunities in spaces outside of parks and playgrounds.”
It’s the first time play features have been incorporated into one of Council’s wastewater infrastructure projects.
Sven Ericksen, Project Manager for Peacocke Wastewater, said building major infrastructure can sometimes cause disruptions for the community.
“For big projects, you do have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette. But rather than make a plain omelette we decided to put a bit of spice into it which were the play elements on Alderson Road.”
Another play project is due to be completed next month in the nearby Alderson Road underpass. A low-level “climbing traverse”, featuring rock climbing holds is being installed by Council and is a response to community feedback for more general “tarzan-ness” and climbing rocks through the city’s underpasses.
The Play Strategy is a vision for the next 20 years for impacting positively on the physical activity levels of people who live in or visit Hamilton city – it outlines the Council’s contribution towards play within the city.