Plans for new park thought too costly

Sports groups in Alexandra are unimpressed with Molyneux Park redevelopment plans, several branding them as unrealistic and too expensive.

A series of designs for the redevelopment of the 28ha park were unveiled to 30 user groups in late January, with options costing from $4 million to $13 million. The options included the relocation of several sports facilities within the park.

Representatives from hockey, netball, croquet, bowls, curling, ice hockey, ice-skating and tennis clubs made submissions on the matter to the Central Otago District Council's long-term plan, which were considered by the Vincent Community Board on Monday.

The board had allowed $162,000 this year for the first stage of the redevelopment project - roading and landscaping the entrance into the park, but after hearing submissions it decided to spread that sum over two years.

IceInline Central president Murray Petherick said he disagreed with the suggestion in the plans that a new ice arena replace the existing one, to create a focal point for the park. The cost would be prohibitive.

The existing facility had been in operation for 15 years and was used for ice hockey, curling and skating. The $2 million rink was the result of thousands of hours of volunteer labour.

Central Otago Netball centre president Sally Bell said the redevelopment proposal was "unrealistic, unnecessary and unachievable", and there was no need to shift the netball courts. However, the centre agreed a multi-purpose stadium was needed, she said.

The executive officer of the Alexandra Tennis Club, Santilal Parbhu, said the success of the plan was dependent on several clubs agreeing to relocate.

Board member Tim Cadogan said spending $13 million redeveloping the park would be "insane", as the board was trying to keep rates down.

Central Otago deputy mayor and board member Tony Lepper said the plan was unaffordable.

"I don't think we should dislocate all the groups and undo their good work."

Acting board chairman Graeme Bell said although Molyneux Stadium was not going to be upgraded, it was important to keep it in reasonable condition so it could be used until an alternative facility was available.

The board commissioned Beca Carter Hollings and Ferner Ltd (Beca) to undertake the Molyneux Park study last year, to assess the present and long-term provision and use of recreational facilities in the park.



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