New turf fi­nally un­der way

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Bernie Wood has been around rugby league a long time, but see­ing the earth­works un­der way for the ar­ti­fi­cial turf on As­cot Park ranks among his sport­ing high­lights.

‘‘This is one of the most sat­is­fy­ing things I’ve been in­volved with. It’s some­thing that is built in Porirua East and it’s go­ing to be a won­der­ful as­set for rugby league and sport in gen­eral for this com­mu­nity.’’

The earth­works ma­chin­ery of win­ning ten­derer STI broke ground last week on the 130-me­tre by 75-me­tre field. There will be a 20m x 75m train­ing area at the car park end, six light tow­ers and a 2.4m-high gal­vanised steel fence around it.

The car park will be ex­tended to cope with the in­flux of ve­hi­cles at the week­ends.

Mr Wood hopes the first games to be played at the $1.6 mil­lion fa­cil­ity will be at Queen’s Birth­day week­end, but a con­tin­u­ous run of good weather is needed to en­sure no con­struc­tion de­lays.

‘‘I can’t wait to see lo­cal games in­volv­ing the Vik­ings, St Ge­orge, Wests, North­ern United, Pare­mataPlim­mer­ton. That’s what this is all about.

‘‘It’s been four years to get to this point, since my­self and Michelle Robin­son from the Vik­ings went to Auck­land to see the Col­lege Ri­fles fa­cil­ity . . . and this is what’s come out of that.’’

Mr Wood made spe­cial men­tion of grants re­ceived from Lotteries and Mana Com­mu­nity Grants Foun­da­tion, and the pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship with Porirua City Coun­cil. He re­calls plenty of scep­ti­cism from the coun­cil when he and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Wests first pre­sented their plan, but ap­pre­ci­ated PCC was op­er­at­ing in a re­ces­sion and was be­ing asked to spend ratepay­ers’ money.

He hopes they will not have to use all of the coun­cil’s in­ter­est-free loan, which is nearly $400,000.

A nam­ing spon­sor is still be­ing ex­plored.

Break­ing ground: Porirua

Vik­ings pres­i­dent Bernie Wood

couldn’t be hap­pier to see huge dig­gers

and dump trucks driv­ing over his beloved As­cot Park field, as work be­gins

on the new ar­ti­fi­cial turf.

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