Ratepay­ers to fund hockey turf re­newal


Els­don Hockey Turf’s re­place­ment will be partly funded by Porirua ratepay­ers, it was de­cided last week.

The turf, which was of­fi­cially opened in 2007, was built af­ter a suc­cess­ful ap­pli­ca­tion to Porirua City Coun­cil’s shared re­spon­si­bil­ity scheme.

It was granted $375,000 plus a $539,000 in­ter­est-free loan.

Cap­i­tal & Welling­ton Hockey rep­re­sen­ta­tives spoke to city coun­cil­lors last Thurs­day morn­ing, ex­plain­ing that the turf re­quired a $240,000 up­grade. They were ask­ing that the $26,444 grant al­ready agreed to by coun­cil of­fi­cers un­der the shared re­spon­si­bil­ity scheme be raised to $79,332.

The rest of the $240,000 up­grade would be raised by hockey clubs and other grant ap­pli­ca­tions.

Re­ports had in­di­cated ‘‘in­con­sis­tent bounce and gen­eral un­even­ness’’ of the Els­don turf in re­cent times, coun­cil­lors were told.

Cap­i­tal & Welling­ton Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Traf­ford Wil­son said the sport in this re­gion was in good spir­its.

‘‘Mem­ber­ship is up 24 per cent and there are 20,000 peo­ple in par­tic­i­pa­tion pro­grammes,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re well-rep­re­sented in Porirua with the Toa and Tawa Ti­tans clubs that are af­fil­i­ated to Els­don.

‘‘Hav­ing a turf here re­moves cost bar­ri­ers, like trans­port, to peo­ple in the Porirua re­gion.’’

Welling­ton Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion trustee Karen Wal­lace said ‘‘we pay our own way’’, but be­ing given the $79,332 as a grant, rather than some of it be­ing a loan, would mean other projects the sport was look­ing at in the re­gion would not have to be de­layed.

Porirua City coun­cil­lors Tim Shep­pard and Ken Dou­glas did not sup­port an in­crease, but their col­leagues de­cided to give half the $79,332 as a grant and the rest as an in­ter­est-free loan.

There was $1,088,000 in the coun­cil’s shared re­spon­si­bil­ity scheme and Porirua mayor Nick said what was be­ing asked for would not make a big dent in the fund.

How­ever, he said the les­son of the Bernie Wood Turf in As­cot Park needed to be re­mem­bered.

‘‘Our pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence with the scheme was not a good one – we were left hold­ing it up.’’

Coun­cil chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Roy Baker said Welling­ton Hockey’s fi­nan­cial po­si­tion meant the coun­cil was com­fort­able the loan would be paid back.

A re­view of the coun­cil’s shared re­spon­si­bil­ity scheme would be done in the near fu­ture, he said.

‘‘Mem­ber­ship is up 24 per cent and there are 20,000 peo­ple in par­tic­i­pa­tion pro­grammes.’’

The Els­don Park Hockey Turf op­er­ates at 81 per cent of its ca­pac­ity each week.

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