Facilities 'way behind'

Whitestone Stadium facilities at Centennial Park in Oamaru are falling behind sports complexes in other centres, and the North Otago Cricket Association wants something done about it.

The association is urging the Waitaki District Council to upgrade facilities, warning North Otago could miss out on staging major sports events.

Association president Peter Cameron made the case for upgrading the stadium during the council's 2010-11 draft annual plan submissions process on Thursday. He also acknowledged some of the sports groups which share Centennial Park "can't accept the bigger picture".

Cricket tried to work with other users for the benefit of the facility, but some were interested only in what they could get for their own sport.

"We are a long way behind facilities available at other towns in direct competition with us. They have spent hugely on infrastructure."

North Otago having won the Hawke Cup cricket competition this year, the park would host cup eliminations and defences. It would also host a provincial 50-over and twenty/20 games.

But North Otago was in direct competition for provincial cricket fixtures with Invercargill, Queenstown, Dunedin and Alexandra.

Cricket's "wish list" included: electricity to the scoreboard so scoring was computer-based and fed to the internet; a suitably sized commentators' box; assistance for cricket's $5000 annual costs to hire Whitestone Contracting machinery and to buy soil for the wicket block; upgrading kitchen facilities under the grandstand; a groundsman for all of the park.

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz


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