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Football First For Tauranga - Links Ave Reserve Major Upgrade

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Tauranga City Council has announced plans to revamp Links Avenue Reserve, marking a significant milestone for the city's sporting landscape with the introduction of the city’s first artificial, carbon neutral turf dedicated to football.

Alison Law, Spaces and places manager, says the introduction of artificial turf will assist city-wide pressures by bolstering football field capacity year-round, while optimising space utilisation.

"Football's popularity in Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty region is soaring, necessitating investments like these to meet the escalating demand," Alison states.

"This initiative aims to cater to existing and future football needs, foster talent development initiatives, and encourage greater community involvement."

Enabling works to establish a carpark will be commencing in May 2024. Field works are slated to commence in October 2024, ensuring readiness for the 2025 football season.

Brendon McHugh, Chairperson of Tauranga City AFC and Trustee of FC Tauranga Moana, highlights the project will support the region’s growing requirements in grassroots, talent development and premier football.

He says Tauranga City AFC is the only Bay of Plenty side in the Mens National League, the FC Tauranga Moana women’s side is aiming to reach the female equivalent, and its youth teams play in the NRFL Youth league against some of the best sides in the country.

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“This investment aligns with our club’s strategic vision of reinstating male and female National League football to the region while bolstering grassroots football initiatives. The artificial turf will also unlock more football activity options, which the whole community can benefit from.”

Moreover, the project represents a significant step forward in the city's commitment to sustainable sports infrastructure. The turf is made using fibres that are made from sugar cane, rather than petroleum derivatives and microplastics, as well as being compostable after use. This material proven for use overseas, will be a New Zealand first.

Alison underscores the pivotal role of community engagement in driving the project forward.

“At the heart of our project to upgrade Links Avenue Reserve lies a commitment to community engagement and collaboration. We've actively involved various community groups and stakeholders in the planning process to ensure that the project acknowledges the diverse needs and interests of our community.”

The council is actively collaborating with key stakeholders, including the Mount Maunganui Dog Training Club, Papamoa Football Club, and Tauranga City AFC, to ensure successful implementation and address any pertinent concerns.

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