Conditions set for centre

A lease agreement for a proposed Arrowtown community and sports centre on Jack Reid Park has been granted by the Queenstown Lakes District Council, subject to resolution of a number of issues.

The conditional agreement was this week granted by the council's community services committee, enabling the trust behind the proposal to escape what Cr Lex Perkins described as a "catch-22 situation".

Stemming from the perceived need for new Arrowtown Rugby clubrooms, the scope was broadened last year when the Arrowtown Community and Sports Centre Trust was formed.

It proposed a community and sports building which could include meeting rooms, storage, squash courts, a covered court, cricket nets and three courts which could incorporate a hockey pitch.

Cr Perkins said a catch-came in the fact that without exact confirmation of facility plans, a lease could not be granted, but without lease confirmation, the trust could not afford to progress its plans.

Speaking at the meeting, trust chairman Russell Gray said it was important to have a "robust decision process" rather than rushing into confirming plans just to secure the lease.

"We are committed to build something that's important to the community and all user groups, so it's important to get something that works for the future, not just in the short-term."

Council property manager Jo Conroy noted concerns over the proposal in her report to the committee, particularly about noise and the traffic conflict it might cause with neighbouring camping ground users.

Mr Gray assured the committee that the community centre could be funded entirely by the trust, with no need for ratepayer assistance, but Cr Cath Gilmour said council needed to take caution.

"It's like the leaky houses syndrome. If it's unsustainable and doesn't stand up, then as community guardians we will be asked to look at it." The recommendation to grant the conditional lease was accepted unanimously and the matter is expected to come back to the committee in a year's time.

It is conditional on the following issues being concluded: location, design and size, auxiliary facilities such as the hockey pitch, location of the playground and lodge, parking and traffic flow, ongoing management and agreement about the final lease document.

If all of those are confirmed, the council will have to notify the lease, call for submissions, hold a hearing if required, pass a resolution and seek the approval of the Minister of Conservation.


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