Pupils full of domain ideas

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Ashburton school children are bristling with ideas for Ashburton Domain – and common themes emerged at the annual Young Persons’ Forum at which schools are asked to submit ideas.

Schools this year were asked how they would like Ashburton Domain to look in 2050.

Ideas ranged from the simple – football posts – to the grand – a dome covering the entire domain.

But there was common support for bigger and better playgrounds, a splash park, a bigger and better bike track, more seating, more rubbish bins, and the pond being improved.

Almost all students provided visual displays to support their ideas.

Ashburton College students Shane Crawford and (head boy) William Wallis suggested an adrenaline forest – something challenging and entertaining, but safety guidelines would have to be considered.

The boys said the flying fox was scary, had rungs missing and the whole structure swayed.

They also suggested that the Ashburton skate park be relocated to the domain as it was “in the middle of traffic now”.

A cafe or bay for mobile food vans was also needed.

They also suggested dining areas, that the cleanliness of toilets be improved, another hockey turf, better care of the aviary and to improve the quality of the cricket oval.

Mt Hutt College students Victoria Hutana, Kate Herlihy and Harrison Hydes focused on one idea – a community greenhouse, accessible to all, possibly between the aviary and the oval.

It could act, among other things, as a “living classroom”, open up job opportunities, and be an education tool.

Cr Selwyn Price said he liked the idea of “building the community”.

Borough School children Scarlett Hanrahan and Kylana Peauafi Symonds said they asked senior children for input and put together a word cloud in which suggestions included scooters, hoverboards, a water park, an art wall and an underground park “like a subway”.

The water park could be like the Margaret Mahy playground in Christchurch – a suggestion backed by other schools.

They also suggested an ice-cream kiosk and in-ground trampolines.

Tinwald School children Dallas Richardson and McKinley Brown suggested Ashdome – a dome over the domain.

It could include tree huts, walkways between trees, tree-climbing, and the dome would allow control of the weather.

Cr Russell Ellis said the idea was fantastic and Cr Leen Braam said it blew him away.

Wakanui pupils Izacc Carr, Ella Rickard and Hannah Digby suggested a bike track around or through the domain, air pillows, a splash pad, rock walls and charging stations for cars.

They said a water slide “would be amazing” but not realistic, so they pushed the more realistic idea of a bike track.

They said the domain was a great place but there was room for improvement.

To a suggestion from Cr Stuart Wilson that electric scooters be included, the children said yes – as long as there were rules.

Mayfield School children Emily Carr, Isabella Carr and Hannah Kidd – the first submission from Mayfield – said another hockey turf was needed as the demand was such that some teams had to have byes and adults were practising at 8pm.

Rugby posts were needed, and a bigger bike track.

A better playground like that in Christchurch would also be good.

Hinds pupils Luiz Velasco and Islabella Taylor said the domain should be eco-friendly, smoke-free and have solar-powered lights for paths to make it safe at night.

An overbridge to the domain over West Street would also make access much safer from the east.

The pond, they said, was polluted and needed native plants to filter the water.

The flying fox needed upgrading, and a community fruit and vegetable garden was needed.

Rakaia School pupils Meg, Haymesh and Latham suggested a dog park, a better playground, but they could not say what should go in it as they did not know the preferences of children in 2050.

The flying fox should be shifted, and netball courts put near the tennis courts.