AN Invercargill park once destined for disposal was alive with families last Saturday.
More than 100 people attended the Teviot St Reserve picnic in the park, supported by representatives from the Invercargill City Council, Sport Southland, Healthy Families and YMCA.
“I was so happy to see so many families coming together, using the field and having fun with their kids… which was what it was saved for,” organiser Kaye Fraser said.
Mrs Fraser said one reason for organising the picnic was so she and council staff could talk with the reserve’s neighbouring families about what improvements or changes they would like to see made to the reserve to encourage more people to use it.
In 2017, the Invercargill City Council announced its intention to sell off the 1.2ha Teviot St Reserve. It was one of 22 pieces of reserve land identified in its 2013 Parks Strategy as being under-used. However, following strong opposition from the community, the council abandoned the plan.
Mrs Fraser said the community was now using the reserve more regularly, particularly in summer.
“It wasn’t until we nearly lost it that we now appreciate it more.”
She was now working with the council to find ways to ensure the park was used to its full potential.
The general feeling of the people she spoke to during the picnic was they wanted cars prevented from driving over the reserve between Teviot to Ettrick Sts, she said.
There had been incidences of cars driving over the field while children were playing nearby, she said.
They also indicated they wanted the large green space in the middle of the reserve retained so groups could play sports, she said.
No-one requested playground equipment, because there was a playground nearby, but they did want a football net or goal posts installed, she said.
The council was collating the feedback, which was expected to be completed later this week.
Mrs Fraser said once she received the information, she would then approach the council again to see how the ideas could be implemented.
Parks staff had already begun putting in new plants and were also in the process of installing a bench seat.
Mrs Fraser said the council was now “100%” supporting the group’s plans for the reserve.
It shows how a community can work with the council to make a positive change by people to be more active, she said.