Artificial turf a real boost
The backers of an artificial playing surface planned for Ascot Park got the huge boost they needed last week – a $575,000 grant from Lotteries.
The Porirua Vikings – who are jointly behind the $ 1.9 million project with Western Suburbs Football Club – received confirmation from Lotteries’ Grants Facility Fund last week. Conditions include gaining a resource consent and spending the grant within 12 months.
The money from Lotteries means they are now $ 300,000 short of the total needed. Club president Bernie Wood was elated and says the naysayers in the com- munity have been proven wrong.
‘‘All those that said ‘ this [turf] is not going to happen’ – it’s a smack in the eye to them, what are they going to say now? We are very close now, I’m just thrilled.’’
Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett and a number of councillors have been outspoken against the proposal, doubting the validity of information received from Mr Wood and Wests.
Mr Wood said the remaining funds required could be accessed via other grants or possibly a naming sponsor, which he is keeping close to his chest for now.
Deputy mayor Liz Kelly said she was ‘‘ecstatic’’ to hear the news.
‘‘This is a no-brainer for the council to support and something that is going to be of massive benefit to our city. It’s exciting news for our sports clubs and our children, who already miss a huge amount of winter games because of the weather and pressure on our grounds.
‘‘I see a turf as helping to build depth in our sport; the thing is now for the city to get behind it and make it happen.’’
Construction and administration of the artificial turf will be overseen by the Porirua Synthetic Sportsfield Community Trust, which will have Vikings, Wests and independent members on its committee. Mr Wood anticipates work will get under way early next year. Porirua City Council approved nearly $600,000 in loans and a grant in February.