Hockey turf "last brick"

A further grant of $40,000 will be the "last brick in the wall'' for the new amenities building at the upgraded hockey turf in Cromwell.

That was the message given to the Cromwell Community Board by Central Otago Sports Turf Trust chairman Mike Paardekooper this week.

Mr Paardekooper said the group had raised $1.75million for the whole project - replacing the sand turf with water turf and constructing an amenities building on the site.

The turf had been upgraded but work could not begin on the building until all the funding for it was confirmed and the trust had a shortfall of $130,000.

It was working to lower the cost of the building and had exhausted all funding avenues.

The turf trust had asked three of the main donors to the turf upgrade - the Otago Community Trust, the Central Lakes Trust and the Cromwell board - to each give an extra $40,000 to the project to cover the shortfall. The turf trust would fund the balance.

Both the Otago Community Trust and Central Lakes Trust had already agreed to the further grant, provided all three funders were contributing.

"This is really the last brick in the wall,'' Mr Paardekooper said. The hockey turf was just as important to the district as a rugby field, football field or cricket pitch, he said.

Central Otago District Council parks and recreation manager Mat Begg said the further $40,000 could be funded from the board's general reserves.

The board had given $150,000 to the project so far.

The board agreed to provide the extra $40,000.

Board member Shirley Calvert said the community was concerned about the recent Cromwell rates rise and she wondered if there was another way to get the money, such as a loan from the board.

Mr Paardekooper said one of the conditions of extra funding from the two trusts was the other funds had to be "freely available'' from the other funders. Mr Begg said the board's share would come from general reserves, not from rates.

Board member Glen Christiansen said the turf trust had worked hard and was close to completing the project so the board "shouldn't be the stumbling block''.

Chairman Neil Gillespie said the facility was no different to the bike park or the facilities established by the Central Otago Equestrian Trust, "which are for the community and save us money''.

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