Swing high, sweet Erica


How to get fast action from council  –  ask a nine-year-old.

An impassioned plea from a determined nine-year-old has swung new swings for a playground near her Kelvin Heights home.

Erica den Hertog wrote to Queenstown Lakes District Council in February, demanding that swings be installed at her favourite Jardine Park play area.

The letter – written with a colouring-in pencil – pointed out that Erica and her pals “hated” not having any swings and would love it if something could be done for them.

The note tickled local council bosses.

QLDC project manager Russell Engelke called Erica back within a week to say funding had been found.

Two weeks ago, four swings were added to the existing jungle gym area at Jardine Park – at a cost of $7000.
Erica’s dad Dave says his daughter is delighted.

“She came in one day and out of the blue announced she was writing to the council to ask them for some swings,” Erica’s dad says.

“Erica is always writing books and stories and is a little girl who knows what she wants.

“She’s chuffed to bits at getting a result and is always round at the park now. Even her new puppy Gen likes to have a go on the swings.”

And Queenstown Primary pupil Erica says she’s impressed at how quickly QLDC responded to her bold missive.

“If it was Auckland, I bet I would have just got a letter back months later and nothing would ever have been done,” she says.

“My friends all think the new swings are brilliant. We love them.”

QLDC community services boss Paul Wilson says they were happy to oblige.

“It was delightful to receive such a forthright letter from such a young resident,” Wilson adds.

“Obviously we can’t always deliver such requests but Erica made a compelling case and the location was suitable and the budget available.”