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February weather slows sports field upgrades

February weather slows sports field upgrades

The wet weather that created havoc in the lower North Island in February has held up playing fields upgrades underway at five North Shore City sports fields.

North Shore City Council is hard at work installing new drainage and resurfacing soccer pitches at Becroft Park and Barry's Point Reserve in Takapuna, and Greenhithe War Memorial Park; a rugby field at Kaipatiki Reserve in Glenfield; and a rugby league field at the Birkenhead War Memorial Park.

However February's downpours have meant they are unlikely to be ready for the opening of the winter sports season, says the council's parks operations manager, Mike Weaver.

"This work has to be carried out during summer and autumn, but the wet spring meant the start was delayed then February's cloudbursts meant further delays."

An average of 340 mm of rain fell across the city during February instead of the usual 60 mm.

All five fields are having improved drainage installed and are being resurfaced and levelled.

"We will need to wait for the turf on all these fields to be well established before we can begin using them to ensure their long-term future," Mike Weaver says.

"However it will be worth the wait - these fields will be in much better condition and, in the case of the new sand fields, will be able to be used more often."

Meanwhile other winter sports fields around the city are currently undergoing autumn maintenance, which includes aerating, weed control and turf replenishment in preparation for the winter sports season, which kicks off in April.

Community services and parks committee chairperson Councillor Margaret Miles says the city's sports fields are under increasing pressure both from growing numbers and as summer and winter sports seasons roll into each other.

"North Shore City residents are a sporty bunch, and as our city grows our council faces huge pressure keeping up with increasing demands for sports fields. For example the number of soccer players in our city is growing by about 10 per cent a year."

Councillor Miles says the council has an ongoing programme of increasing capacity on existing grounds by upgrading sports fields to allow greater usage.

"Our sports fields are for everyone. They cater for children of all ages - from the littlies through to teenagers - and are being enjoyed by Masters Games participants this week.

"Last year we substantially upgraded two soccer fields at Albany Domain and players are enjoying the benefits of these projects."

Other major projects this financial year include the new softball diamond infield at Rosedale Park completed last November, and the extension of the cricket oval on the lower field at Birkenhead's War Memorial Park.

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