Sports clubs call for bigger, better fields
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.