Sports plan criticised at hearing

Comparisons were drawn between Wanaka's proposed sports facility and Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium at an annual plan hearing in Wanaka yesterday, as submitters called for more detail on costs and an end to ''over-consultation''.

Others urged the Queenstown Lakes District Council to further investigate sites other than the Three Parks subdivision for the sports complex and a recent proposal to locate it at Mount Aspiring College appeared to gain some traction.

Resident Greg Marshall said he was ''utterly mystified by the lack of numbers'' available for the project.

''How can council invest $16 million plus ... with an open-ended obligation to pick up the mess every year ... it seems foolhardy.''

He suggested the ''Forsyth Barr Wanaka Sports Facility'' was a more appropriate name for the project.

John Walker agreed there needed to be more certainty about the costs associated with the proposed facility, which looked like ''the train crash that occurred with the Dunedin Forsyth Barr Stadium''.

Sport Central co-ordinator Bill Godsall supported the Three Parks site.

''I originally did believe it needed to be near schools . . . but the Ministry [of Education] tends to build their own gymnasiums anyway.''

To bring economic benefit, it needed to be at Three Parks, he said.

Steve Schikker still supported the Wanaka Showgrounds site proposal abandoned three years ago in favour of Three Parks.

He suggested the row of trees along McDougall St be removed to create space for up to four full-sized sports fields.

Mount Aspiring College principal Wayne Bosley and board of trustees chairman Richard Hemingway said the idea of a shared school-community sports complex was worth investigating, as such models worked successfully elsewhere.

Some of the maintenance costs and management could be provided by the college, which already planned to build more sporting facilities within the next 10 years.

Three Parks developer Allan Dippie questioned the council's ''extreme over-consultation'' on the sports facility project.

''I've watched what's been happening with interest this year ... there's been a lack of leadership and a lack of decision-making and it's starting to frustrate the community,'' he said.

''What I'm seeing is a plan that is trying to please everyone and it's getting pretty convoluted and it's going to please no-one.

''Let's spend the money on the bricks and mortar in the meantime and not this continuing consultation.''

He was particularly concerned over suggestions to reduce the size of the facility.

''If you make it too small, it's going to be too expensive to build because you'll lose the economy of scale.''

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