Belle Clark and her daughter Millie Clark, 2, are just some of the local residents who would like Nelson City Council to install a public toilet at Hockey Reserve playground in The Brook. Photo: Kate Russell.

Mums: We need a loo

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It is one of the most popular playgrounds in Nelson – but its visitors don’t have a toilet to use.

Local mum Belle Clark – with the backing of numerous other users of Hockey Reserve playground – has started an online petition to get a public toilet facility installed at The Brook playground.

She says she is forced to bring a potty to the playground for her two children, aged two and four, even though she just lives up the road. She adds that children are currently forced to “water” the surrounding plants, which is “unhygienic and avoidable” and she has talked to several other local residents who are fed up with people asking to use their toilets and squatting in the bushes.

“It is putting strain on parents, caregivers and visitors to the area. Nelson City Council have listened to the wider community against freedom camping and it is time it listened to the needs of its youngest citizens,” she says.

The council owned playground opened in 2013 and it was designed by Nelson landscape architect company, Canopy, in consultation with residents in the area.

It’s unique adventure-base design, complete with a BMX pump track, means it has become a popular destination for families that come from all over Nelson to use it.

Belle, who has put in a submission to the draft annual plan, says she and a number of other concerned parents have contacted the council in the past, only to be told that the park is intended for “local residents only” and therefore does not qualify for a toilet.

“To argue that this playground is only intended for residents who can nip to their own private loo is ridiculous,” she says.

“If that is the argument, I would encourage any councillor to try and get their grandchild to a toilet more than five minutes walk away in time.

“It is a public park that is used by people who do not live in the immediate area.”

Nelson city councillor Tim Skinner told Nelson Weekly that the playground has been more popular than initially thought.

“It’s been a hit – probably too much of a hit,” he says.

“It was originally designed to be the neighbourhood playground, but for a while families from all over Nelson have been checking it out, which is great.”

Tim says the council endeavours to have a playground within short walking distance of every household and they are happy to listen and support a solution, but they would also need to find out the thoughts of those residents who live in the direct vicinity.

As of yesterday, the petition had attracted 156 signatures.

To add your signature, visit https://www.toko.org.nz/petitions/we-need-a-loo-at-hockey-reserve-playground-nelson