New Regional Squash HQ
MEDIA RELEASE 6 June 2008
New Regional Squash HQ
Squash Canterbury has a new home.
Two years after closing as the Sockburn Recreation Centre, a Christchurch City Council complex was officially opened this week as Squash HQ by mayor Bob Parker.
As Sockburn Recreation Centre, the facility offered an outdoor swimming pool, four squash courts, a fitness centre and two spas and sauna.
Under new management, the complex is now home to Squash Canterbury’s administration, as well as its development and high performance programmes. It’s also home for the Hoon Hay Squash Club; the Christchurch Weightlifting Club; Touch New Zealand’s Referee Development and a sports software developer.
Vaughan Utteridge, CEO of Squash Canterbury, says that since taking over the complex, his organisation has completely renovated the courts, painted and carpeted the ground floor area, converted the spas to office space, renovated the changing rooms, developed a circuit training room, and set up a lounge area which can also be used for training days - and can be made available for outside businesses wishing to use the facilities.
“The big win as far as we are concerned is the retention of a four court squash complex in the city, which gives us a lot more flexibility in terms of running coaching and development programmes,” Mr Utteridge says.
“Another benefit was the opportunity to focus on creating partnerships - like those we now have with the Hoon Hay Squash Club and the Weightlifting Club.
“Not only that, but we also have an amazing partnership with Sports Software and the Council to develop a squash booking and access system for Christchurch courts. The system will allow players to go online to book and pay for a court, with their booking card also allowing access to the building where the court is located - effectively allowing play 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says Mr Utteridge.
“Currently we are installing hardware at the courts and access systems on the front doors, with the aim of having the system rolled out later this year - and ultimately available around the country.”
Council Recreation and Sports Manager John Filsell says it was a golden opportunity for the council to become involved in this joint venture.
“For a start we’re delighted to see the transformation of a facility that was no longer working for us into something which is quickly becoming a hub for squash players from throughout the region. To see the other partnerships that have evolved from our relationship with Squash Canterbury is just fantastic and a true demonstration of partnerships working for the good of all,” says Mr Filsell.
“The online booking system will be great for “pay for play” players who don’t want to belong to a club but can take advantage of court availability all around the city without having to spend time contacting each club to check availability and make a booking,” says Mr Utteridge.
“By tapping into the market of casual players, clubs will be able to get better use of their courts (and therefore more revenue), increase their exposure and also increase their database of squash players (and potential members),” he says.
“Neither Squash HQ or the development of the booking system could have happened without the support of the Christchurch City Council and the Canterbury Community Trust,” says Mr Utteridge.
“We’ve been able to achieve everything we had sought for stage one of our plan, and can now move on to look at future developments - including a fifth squash court which could operate as a show court - with a viewing gallery for up to 300 people. Then we could look at hosting bigger and better events in our region,” he says.