New board to run Centennial Park

A new governing board is being set up to improve facilities at Centennial Park, involving the Waitaki District Council and the sports that use the ground.

The council's committee of the whole has recommended the council retrospectively make a $70,000 grant application to Sport New Zealand to help improve the district's sports facilities and governance.

The funding is for the "Sportsville" partnership concept, which relates to proposed improvements to, and greater sharing of, facilities at Centennial Park, and to helping the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre and sports clubs plan for sustainable futures.

The proposals include a pavilion for the recreational turf and fields, an improved grandstand providing access to serviceable toilet and changing facilities for softball and touch, and the relocation of cricket facilities with toilets and changing rooms.

Council recreation manager Erik van der Spek said the need to improve sports facilities had been identified as early as 1999.

The district's sporting clubs, which relied on the efforts of many of the same volunteers, generally struggled with playing numbers, planning, funding and facility maintenance, he said.

A final funding proposal was lodged with Sport New Zealand by February 29, but had not been endorsed by the council, as its officers had not received commitments from all of the organisations involved until that same week.

A lottery application was intended to fund many of the improvements, as well as supplying funds for planning by individual clubs, but was not submitted "for a number of reasons, including our inability to provide evidence on how the improvements would be managed and maintained at a sustainable level", he said.

Hockey had previously demonstrated its ability to host tournaments at Centennial Park, but could no longer offer the facilities required by New Zealand Hockey, while sports such as softball did not have access to changing and toilet facilities, he said.

Conflicts between sports seasons also affected the abilities of codes to meet standards.

Mr van der Spek said a local contribution was required to demonstrate a commitment to the project, and the council, Sport Waitaki, rugby and cricket had all agreed to use the $26,000 allocated from Whitestone sponsorship for improvements.

Under the Sportsville model, individual sports will still be administered by the clubs, and a professional board, including members of the clubs, will be set up to run the new entity.



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