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Sports Park Review Report Goes Before Councils

Media Release 26 March 2008

Sports Park Review Report Goes Before Councils

Both Napier City Council and Hawke's Bay Regional Council will have a report reviewing the proposal for a Regional Sports Park tabled at their meetings on March 26 (being held in Napier and Waipawa respectively).

The report by the Cormilligan Group Limited reviews the feasibility of the proposal and was commissioned by Hawke's Bay Regional, Hastings District and Napier City Councils.

However neither Napier City nor the Regional Council has had a major debate on the project. Both Councils will be considering the proposal and funding in depth through their Long Term Council Community Plans processes scheduled to commence in October 2008.

Background
In November 2007 Napier City, the Regional Council, and Hasting District commissioned an independent review of Hastings Districts proposed Regional Sports Park. The trigger for this review was a request made by Kelt Capital for both the Regional Council and Napier City to provide funds for the development of the facility and indications of "in principle" support.

At that time neither Council had enough information to make a well-considered assessment of the project’s merit in its own right or on a comparative basis with other projects being considered by the councils. Consequently, the three councils collaborated to contract Cormilligan Group Limited to undertake a review of the value proposition for the Sports Park and also assess where the project planning was at in terms of interest and commitment from various sporting codes nationally, regionally, and locally to the provision of facilities. Financial modelling of the overall proposition was also undertaken..

The Report
In undertaking the review, Cormilligan had open access to all necessary information. In particular Kelt Capital’s project manager invested much time and effort in ensuring the reviewer could obtain a clear picture of where the project was at.

The final report identifies that the project has real merit from the perspective of creating a regionally significant facility, the potential for it to attract national sporting associations and their activities to Hawke’s Bay, and the potential to engage more of the community in physical activity than may be the case currently.

At the same time, however, the report indicates that the development of this sports facility, as proposed, is a challenging initiative and its success will require a number of conditions to be met.

These recommendations include, but are not limited to, issues such as -

- Securing sporting code commitment both nationally and regionally including financial commitments ahead of construction

- Securing Central Government funding on the basis of a facility that is of unique national or international significance

- Building the value proposition in the area of "Social Capital" so that health and education funding might be sourced.

In operating the Sports Park, recommendations have been made to the effect that the facility would need a high level of professional expertise in programme delivery and in sales and marketing to attract a sustainable level of operating revenue.

It is also recommended that a five year operating budget be developed ahead of commissioning the facility to clearly indicate the cash impact on ratepayers over the first years of operation.

A detailed list of the recommendations may be found on pages 16 and 17 of the report.


Next steps:

Both Napier City and Hawke's Bay Regional Councils will consider the proposal in depth through the Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) for 2009/10 which will commence in October 2008 and go before the public for comment by way of plan submissions in early 2009. Noting that for both Councils the project will be assessed against other Council priorities.


ENDS

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