APTLY referred to as a community treasure, the Punjas Children's Park in Lautoka has for the past 16 years been a recreational hub for countless youngsters residing or commuting through the city.
Following a memorandum of understanding between Punja and Sons Ltd and the Lautoka City Council last year, months of renovations finally saw the opening of a 100-metre extension to the popular park on Wednesday.
"There was potential to host larger groups, add indoor gathering spots and additional facilities," company managing director Nitin Punja said.
"It is also one of the ways to inspire children to express their wild side by putting aside electronic gadgets that are prevalent everywhere, such as smart phones, iPads and computers, and experience nature and the outdoors."
The council took on the task of landscaping and creating a retaining wall and larger footpath area while new playing equipment was purchased from Malaysia by Punjas.
Special administrator Praveen Bala said the joint venture cost about $120,000 and commended Punjas for investing back into the community.
"The Lautoka City Council has a total of 132 parks and gardens," Mr Bala said
I would encourage other corporate companies to follow what Punjas has done and partner with the Council in the development of the parks and gardens, which will ensure that children in all housing and estates enjoy similar equipment and facilities in their localities,."
Rugby sevens star Pio Tuwai was also in attendance and praised the project, saying it created a fun space for young children.
The festivities also coincided with the 79th birthday celebration of company founder Kanti Punja.