New turf finally under way
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.