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Indoor Community Sports Centre site

27 February 2006

Cobham Park recommended as Indoor Community Sports Centre site

Kilbirnie's Cobham Park has been recommended as the site of a new eight-court Indoor Community Sports Centre by the Indoor Sports Stadium Working Group. The new indoor facility will be built to international standards, with the primary purpose of facilitating community sport.

Chaired by Mayor Kerry Prendergast, the Working Group was set up in June 2005 to prepare a business case for establishing an indoor sports centre. Its recommendation will be considered by Wellington City Council on 1 March.

Mayor Prendergast says it quickly became clear that the original proposal for a 12-court multi-function indoor sports centre on the Westpac Stadium was neither practical nor affordable. "Going ahead with the original proposal would have cost ratepayers upwards of $50 million, as well as requiring significant compromises to the amount of space available around the courts. We felt this was unacceptable.

"We considered a range of alternative, more flexible options, including other sites, upgrading existing facilities, and building a facility anywhere between four and 12 courts. In the end it came down to a choice between an eight-court facility on one of two sites - Cobham Park or the Westpac Stadium concourse.

"Cobham Park is unquestionably the best solution for everyone concerned -sporting bodies, players, ratepayers, schools, the city and the region. It best satisfies the current sports code requirements, providing Wellington with both an affordable eight-court international standard sports centre and an excellent community facility for use by sports codes, schools and community groups.

"In addition, building at the Cobham site gives us the flexibility to expand the facility in the future¡Xa limited possibility at the Westpac Stadium site. It also saves $7 million on construction costs, which is obviously an advantage."

Mayor Prendergast says the Cobham Park site was not an option until late last year, when Council purchased the park from the Crown. The Working Group found that, in comparison to the Stadium site, Cobham offered some distinct advantages:

- Greater access for schools. There are 40 schools within five kilometres of Cobham Park and 14 within two kilometres, as opposed to 21 within five kilometres of the Westpac Stadium and nine within two kilometres.
- Higher usage. As the sports codes have the same peak usage times (late afternoons/evenings and weekends), the Working Group needed to make sure that schools could utilise the facility during the day.
- Greater free parking capability
- Naming right sponsorship opportunities (not available at the Westpac Stadium)
- Fewer scheduling clashes (community sporting events might well clash with major events at Westpac Stadium)
- Lower cost ($29 million at Cobham Park vs $36 million at the Stadium)
- Lower financial risk to ratepayers overall

Ms Prendergast says that this final point is key. "For both sites, we looked at the estimated costs of construction, the risks of overruns, the operating costs and the ability to start construction sooner rather than later. Cobham Park was a clear winner, with lower risks of cost escalations, less potential disruption to adjacent facilities, fewer construction delays, and less construction complexity."

Ms Prendergast says that while the proposed centre will make Wellington competitive in attracting regional and national events for netball, basketball, volleyball and a host of other sports, the Working Group made a deliberate decision to focus the facility on community sports use.

"There are still outstanding issues to be considered and resolved around the proposed site including re-housing existing sports which currently use the park and reviewing our traffic management plans to accommodate the increased traffic issues the centre will generate. We are aware of neighbouring residents' concerns and will work with them to ensure an effective solution.

"The Working Group is excited about this proposal and believes it will provide much-needed extra facilities for sports groups, players and schoolchildren alike. It's a great addition to Wellington."


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