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.