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Council adopts Draft Metropolitan Sports Plan

MEDIA RELEASE 27 March 2008

Council adopts Draft Metropolitan Sports Facilities Plan

A new multi-purpose, mid-sized indoor sports arena seating 3000, an upgrade of Cowles Stadium, relocation of netball to Addington and retirement of Rugby League Park are proposed under the Draft Metropolitan Sports Facilities Plan.

Today’s Christchurch City Council meeting adopted the Draft Plan, which provides a framework to guide Council’s future role and contribution in providing metropolitan sports facilities in Christchurch during the next 20 years. It prioritises developments to inform funding for the 2009-2019 Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP).

The Draft Plan will be available for public comment and feedback from 14 April to 31 May 2008.

Council Recreation and Sports Manager John Filsell says Christchurch needs to ensure it has the sporting infrastructure and suite of world-class facilities capable of providing the flexibility to attract local, national and international sporting events.

“The city has already missed opportunities to secure some national and international sporting events because it does not have a suitable modern venue which seats about 3000 spectators.

“The Draft Plan seeks to address this by proposing a new mid-sized indoor arena at Addington which has at least eight courts.”

An upgrade of Cowles Stadium is also proposed under the Draft Plan to improve services and functionality of the venue. This would include improvements to the seating, lighting, changing areas, sound, ventilation and scoreboards.

“This would bring capacity of the venue to about 1500 and meet the city’s need for a small, cost-effective venue for participation sports and smaller events,” Mr Filsell says.

The Draft Plan identifies the other top priority areas as:
* Retiring the ageing outdoor cycling track at Denton Park.
* Re-acquiring the lease and retiring Rugby League Park because of the poor condition of the facility and need for significant upgrading.
* Completing the upgrade of Ruapuna Raceway’s hard-surface track to comply with international standards, improving garaging and hospitality facilities and continuing to work with the community on noise control issues.
* Proactively reviewing leases for Council facilities to bring leases in line with Council policy and the responsibility for maintenance under Council.

He says it is important to note that priorities in the Plan, when adopted by Council in late August after considering all public comment and feedback, will not guarantee a facility will be upgraded, redeveloped or built. The Plan will be reviewed every three years in time to inform the LTCCP funding round, along with all other funding priorities for the city.

The Draft Plan also identifies:
* Developing up to 40 new outdoor courts at Addington to relocate netball from Hagley Park – half of these being shared with tennis.
* Developing an International Cricket Council-compliant arena for test cricket at QEII.
* Undertaking remedial repair work to the pitch at English Park.
* Making incremental improvements at Kerr’s reach while work continues on investigating the possibility of a flat-water sports facility at Henderson’s Basin.
* Contributing to the upgrade of Cuthberts Green softball facility.
* Investigating partnership provision for outdoor artificial surfaces for city-wide use, including an additional artificial hockey field.
* Investigating the opportunity to locate metropolitan facilities for other indoor sports within the Wigram hangars or at other large indoor spaces within the city.
* Investigating site locations for an alternative outdoor cycling track, possibly as part of a cycling park development, to meet minimum standards for training and local competition.

Changes are also proposed to reconfigure areas of QE II Park – the Village Green, Main Stadium, No. 2 Ground and artificial surfaces – to maximise use of QEII Park as an outdoor sports venue. This is seen as central to the success of the Draft Metropolitan Facilities Plan.

“Built for the 1974 Commonwealth Games, the existing layout of QEII’s Main Stadium does not provide the best configuration for use by other sporting codes, such as football, rugby or rugby league. In 2011, when Christchurch hosts the International Paralympics Committee Athletics World Championships, a warm-up track will need to be built at QEI1. This will be in addition to the existing competition track. It is proposed this track will be located on the No.2 Ground.

“After the Championships, Council has the option of retaining the main stadium in the current format and either removing the warm-up track or incorporating it into the future development of the area; or removing the existing track in the main stadium and configuring the area to better accommodate grass-based rectangular sports and bringing the warm-up track up to competition standard.”

Mr Filsell says the Draft Plan places considerable emphasis on partnerships as critical for the future development of metropolitan sports facilities.

“Throughout the years, Christchurch City has provided significant investment in sporting facilities; however, Council has limited financial resources for future development.

“Council will need to be selective with investment in new facilities and will be reliant on partnerships with business, the community, sporting codes and government agencies to further develop the network to meet changing needs.”

Copies of the Draft Metropolitan Sports Facilities Plan and Public Summary document will be available from 14 April at Christchurch City Libraries, Council Service Centres, Civic Offices in Tuam Street, Council-owned Leisure Centres and selected recreation facilities and online at www.ccc.govt.nz


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