A perfect day of weather and crowds in the hundreds, are what characterised the official opening of the all-new Wairaka Centennial Park in Whakatane on Saturday.
The new facility which took just short of a year to develop features a zero-depth water play area, tidal pool and a swimming, diving and jumping area. It is expected to be a popular spot this summer.
Free to use push-button barbecues are also available on the premise.
General Manager Mike Naude says it was great to see so many children playing happily together at the new park in its opening last weekend.
“People of all ages were out enjoying the occasion. It was a fantastic day, and the atmosphere was really positive.
“The new park complements the river nicely and will hopefully encourage the community to get out and enjoy our beautiful surroundings,” he says.
“The new gas barbecues were given a good run, providing hundreds of sausages for children. The zero-depth water play area was really popular, and we're already seeing people playing there from 9 am onwards.”
Fountains in the zero-depth play area will be operating through summer from 8 am till 8 pm daily.
Whakatane District deputy mayor Judy Turner says the $870,000 project was funded by many local businesses and funding organisations.
“Some 30 per cent of the cost of the development has been provided by community funding agencies, including a $115,000 contribution by the Eastern Bay Energy Trust.
“It's absolutely fantastic to have that sort of support, because it makes it affordable for our community to undertake some key developments which will contribute to an even better Eastern Bay lifestyle.”
Other contributions have been provided by the Lion Foundation, Southern Trust, the former Whakatāne Community Board and Whakatāne Jaycees.
‘In-kind' contributions have also come from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council with the balance of the project cost coming from Harbour Fund reserves and playground renewal reserves.