Bernie Wood Turf fi­nance im­prov­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Bernie Wood Turf is prov­ing less of a headache for Porirua City Coun­cil than pre­vi­ously thought.

Porirua City coun­cil­lors were told last week that the $66,000 an­nual op­er­at­ing bud­get for the $1.9 mil­lion ar­ti­fi­cial turf in As­cot Park has been off­set by $61,000 in rev­enue.

Ratepay­ers took over the turf last July, af­ter the trust ad­min­is­ter­ing it de­clared it would be un­able to re­pay its $251,000 debt to Porirua City Coun­cil.

The trust bor­rowed $197,000 from the coun­cil via the Shared Re­spon­si­bil­ity Scheme, but penalty in­ter­est and non-pay­ments added $54,000 to the ini­tial loan. The busi­ness case pre­sented to the coun­cil in 2012 was de­scribed last year as faulty.

The coun­cil had di­vided the turf into six dis­tinct book­ing ar­eas, so a club did not need to hire the en­tire field, es­pe­cially at peak times.

A re­port last week said the fa­cil­ity had been in­te­grated into the coun­cil’s book­ing sys­tem, Downer had been con­tracted to main­tain it, and coun­cil staff would be set­ting up a re­mote sys­tem to con­trol the lights.

The car park in front of the turf is to be up­graded shortly.

It had been hoped a mem­ber of the sub­urb’s res­i­dents as­so­ci­a­tion would over­see the lock­ing and un­lock­ing of the ground, but that had not even­tu­ated, so a coun­cil em­ployee does it.

Coun­cil­lor Ken Dou­glas said the signs were pos­i­tive, con­sid­er­ing the rocky start to the turf’s ex­is­tence.

A hard les­son had been learnt that the coun­cil should never en­dure again, he said.

Dou­glas wanted more ‘‘re­fine­ment’’ around book­ings, ask­ing that coun­cil of­fi­cers look into de­posits from sports clubs and users, rather than lump pay­ments at the end of the sea­son.

The coun­cil has di­vided the turf into six dis­tinct book­ing ar­eas, so a club does not need to hire the en­tire field, es­pe­cially at peak times. For the peak slot in win­ter, be­tween 4pm and 6pm, it costs just $8.33 an hour to book a sec­tion of the turf.

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