Sports clubs call for big­ger, bet­ter fields

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHAN­DRA

There’s a grow­ing need to re­assess sport­ing field al­lo­ca­tions, a prom­i­nent Auck­land foot­ball club says.

Cen­tral United chair­man Ivan Vuk­sich says for years, they have begged Auck­land Coun­cil for just that.

One of the top foot­ball clubs in Auck­land, with over 60 teams and 800 mem­bers, Cen­tral United is al­lo­cated one ded­i­cated field at San­dring­ham’s Cen­tral Utd by the coun­cil.

Vuk­sich says this is be­com­ing un­sus­tain­able for the club who fork out more than $65,000 ev­ery year for al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions.

‘‘We’ve been all over the place - we hire out One­hunga High School, St Peter’s Col­lege where we train and host games. And a pri­vate field on McLeod Rd.

‘‘We keep telling the coun­cil for years that we need more field al­lo­ca­tion and while they sym­pa­thise with us, all they can say is that there is just a gen­eral short­age of fields.’’

Some clubs are more than happy with their lot.

Eastern Sub­urbs, with more than 2400 play­ers, say they are quite sat­is­fied with their al­lo­ca­tion from the coun­cil.

Club chair­man Chris Ruf­fell says they have ad­e­quate space at Madills Farm, and they also use Glover Park, Ngahue and Cross­field Road Re­serve.

‘‘We work very closely with clubs in our area - a lot of it comes down to com­mu­ni­ca­tion. We share fields with ath­let­ics, touch rugby and cricket and we all want the same thing - kids and adults to run around and stay fit.’’

Auck­land Coun­cil’s man­ager of sports parks Grant Jen­nings con­firmed there is in­suf­fi­cient field time avail­able to cater for the needs of sports clubs, es­pe­cially over the win­ter.

‘‘Fields are cur­rently al­lo­cated based on his­tor­i­cal needs and use but we are mov­ing to a ‘needs anal­y­sis’ ap­proach for win­ter 2017,’’ Jen­nings says.

‘‘This means the num­ber of fields al­lo­cated will be based on the ac­tual num­ber of teams that a club needs to field on a Satur­day. Each team is pro­vided with a fixed time for train­ing per week, with or with­out lights, and 11th grade and above are al­lo­cated fields with lights.

‘‘The over­all need is tal­lied to pro­vide the to­tal train­ing needs for the club for that sea­son. At present, this ex­cludes the clubs’ needs for their acad­emy or elite teams as we have in­suf­fi­cient field time to cater for these ex­tra teams.’’

Rob Har­ris, Al­bert-EdenRoskill Ward can­di­date, says these are ur­gent is­sues for coun­cil to ad­dress.

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