Grass needs to grow

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Parts of Vic­to­ria Park will re­main closed un­til the end of the month be­cause of dam­age to the grounds dur­ing the Taste of Auck­land event.

Ex­tremely dry weather con­di­tions in the lead-up to the four­day event are to blame for a sub­stan­tial amount of dam­age to the in­ner-city park, Auck­land Coun­cil lo­cal and sports cen­tral man­ager Jane Aitken says.

More than 120 ex­hibitors crammed the park last month to sell their wares to an es­ti­mated 15,000 food­ies.

‘‘We ex­pect dam­age but the amount will vary de­pen­dent on the num­bers of pa­trons and the weather con­di­tions,’’ Ms Aitken says.

Some ar­eas needed to be re­placed with turf to speed up their re­cov­ery while oth­ers had to be un­der-sown.

Taste of Auck­land or­gan­is­ers pick up the bill for all dam­age caused by the event.

There has been no net loss of week­end sports games but week­day games have been af­fected and may have to be made up at the end of the sea­son, Ms Aitken says.

A pe­riod of at least two weeks is needed with­out play on the turf.

‘‘This is to help the turf grow in and to pro­tect the ca­sual users of the park who play soc­cer and touch from any in­juries such as sprained knees or an­kles.’’

The area will be fenced off un­til De­cem­ber 20 at the lat­est.

‘‘For the seed to ma­ture fully we would ide­ally keep the park closed for six weeks,’’ she says.

‘‘We re­alise that this is not an op­tion due to the pres­sure of both booked and ca­sual users so we are pro­tect­ing the turf for the min­i­mum amount of time pos­si­ble to as­sist with the es­tab­lish­ment.’’

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