Find­ing a home for foot­ball

Hamilton News - - FRONT PAGE - Tom Row­land

A lack of ar­ti­fi­cial foot­ball turfs is caus­ing dis­rup­tions to the re­gion’s top foot­ball teams, as the Waikato and Bay of Plenty Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion con­tin­ues to search for a site for its pro­posed Home of Foot­ball in Hamil­ton.

The ab­sence of foot­ball turfs in the city and wider re­gions was raised nu­mer­ous times dur­ing the city coun­cil’s 10-year plan dis­cus­sions ear­lier this year.

Stu­dents from Ro­to­tuna High School told coun­cil­lors they did not have a suit­able lo­ca­tion for fut­sal in the city, while Melville United rep­re­sen­ta­tives said due to poor drainage at Hamil­ton’s sports parks fix­tures were hav­ing to be de­layed as there was no all­weather turf.

WAIBOP chief ex­ec­u­tive Karyn Wal­ters said the lack of ar­ti­fi­cial play­ing sur­faces in Hamil­ton has also been caus­ing dis­rup­tions to the premier north­ern league fix­tures due to bad weather and mid-week fix­tures at night.

“We are in des­per­ate need of ar­ti­fi­cial sur­faces in our re­gion. We are un­able to play NRFL fix­tures or league games mid­week un­der lights dur­ing the sea­son,” Ms Wal­ters said.

“There is a high de­mand for ad­di­tional leagues out­side the cur­rent league struc­ture, and with this in­crease in de­mand we would like to be able to of­fer more

We are in des­per­ate need of ar­ti­fi­cial sur­faces in our re­gion. Karyn Wal­ters

leagues that would en­cour­age greater par­tic­i­pa­tion.”

The fed­er­a­tion has been seek­ing a home for many years, and sub­mit­ted a proposal to oc­cupy the old bowl­ing club site at Hinemoa Park, op­po­site FMG Sta­dium on Sed­don Rd.

Once it has se­cured a lo­ca­tion, the fed­er­a­tion will be­gin to seek fund­ing.

“We have a mix of fund­ing op­tions, there are mul­ti­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties for fund­ing, for these ac­tiv­i­ties and for the cap­i­tal re­quired to build such a great com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity.

“One of the ma­jor draw­cards for this lo­ca­tion was its cen­tral na­ture, which al­lowed for greater vis­i­bil­ity and stronger links to the CBD and also cre­ated a sports precinct with rugby, ten­nis, cricket, squash in this area.”

How­ever, at the HCC com­mu­nity and ser­vices com­mit­tee meet­ing on Septem­ber 11, coun­cil­lors gave their sup­port to K’aute Pasi­fika to oc­cupy the bowl­ing fa­cil­ity site to con­struct a Paci­fika and cul­tural hub.

Ms Wal­ters said the lo­ca­tion was per­fect for the pro­posed foot­ball fa­cil­ity, but will now have to look else­where.

“The proposal for the bowls fa­cil­ity was de­vel­oped to fit that fa­cil­ity, and we now need to find an­other lo­ca­tion and adapt the plan to the new lo­ca­tion,” Ms Wal­ters said.

Coun­cil­lor Geoff Tay­lor, on the day of the meet­ing, also agreed with that thought, say­ing he pic­tured the area as a sport­ing precinct.

It is not the first time WAIBOP has missed out on a site for its fa­cil­ity.

In 2015 WAIBOP ap­proached coun­cil with a re­quest to set aside re­serve land at Man­gaiti Park in Hunt­ing­ton to es­tab­lish a re­gional foot­ball fa­cil­ity in Hamil­ton, how­ever, af­ter ob­jec­tions were raised from res­i­dents dur­ing pub­lic sub­mis­sions, the coun­cil de­cided to not sup­port the project.

Image / Hamil­ton City Coun­cil

A pro­posed home of foot­ball, this con­cept de­sign pre­pared for the WAIBOP ap­pli­ca­tion to use Hinemoa Park in­cluded a full size ar­ti­fi­cial foot­ball pitch along with two smaller fut­sal courts.

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