Sport­ing jewel that never was

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PAUL

‘‘There was a mas­sive devel­op­ment of Karori Park years ago, now we feel like it should be our turn.’’

It was en­vis­aged as one of Welling­ton’s sport­ing jew­els.

Gre­nada North Park was go­ing to have 87,000 square me­tres of ter­raced grounds for com­mu­nity sport and re­cre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties, at an es­ti­mated cost of $7.6 mil­lion.

A con­cept de­sign was pre­pared back in 2011 by land­scape ar­chi­tects Boffa Miskell for Welling­ton City Coun­cil.

Then the NZ Trans­port Agency be­gan talks about run­ning the Pe­tone-Gre­nada link road through the mid­dle of it.

Since then, the de­signs once hailed as ‘‘a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity’’ have sat unloved and un­funded.

But the lat­est plans for the link road show it no longer cuts through the park, and Jo Murray, of the Olympic Harriers club, says it’s time for the park to be in­cluded again in the city coun­cil’s long-term plans.

‘‘We are try­ing to say, we are out here as well and we just want to be no­ticed,’’ she said.

‘‘There was a mas­sive devel­op­ment of Karori Park years ago, now we feel like it should be our turn.

‘‘We have got very ac­tive athletics and foot­ball clubs that utilise the grounds re­ally well with the lim­i­ta­tions we’ve got.’’

The 2011 con­cept com­prised two ar­ti­fi­cial turfs, tree plant­ing, re­con­fig­ur­ing of the car park, establishing bike tracks and bush walks, in­stalling a youth ac­tiv­ity zone, and build­ing of new fa­cil­i­ties, among other ideas.

The de­sign re­port said the park ‘‘has a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity of be­com­ing a new hub for out­door sports and recre­ation serv­ing res­i­dents of Welling­ton City, Porirua City and pos­si­bly the Hutt Val­ley.’’

But coun­cil parks, sport and recre­ation man­ager Paul An­drews said the con­cept would not have worked once the link road plans were an­nounced. ‘‘We re­ally wanted to wait un­til we had a bit more surety around where that road was go­ing to run. ‘‘[Gre­nada North Park] cer­tainly is a park that will have its day, but will need in­vest­ment to re­alise its po­ten­tial.’’ That could take time, he warned. Other big­ger-ticket com­mit­ments such as the $150m con­ven­tion cen­tre and movie mu­seum, in­vest­ment in ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture and fa­cil­i­ties, and re­silience plan­ning were all ahead of it in the spend­ing queue.

‘‘Be­ing re­ally frank with you, I don’t see any­thing chang­ing quickly in terms of what is there.

‘‘I think the broader is­sue, and in terms of af­ford­abil­ity for ratepay­ers, is what is the pri­or­ity for any work here, and what is the likely tim­ing for that.

‘‘It is what it is ... but it is a park that will be in­creas­ingly im­por­tant as the city grows north and be­cause of where it is lo­cated,’’ he said.

‘‘And we will, in our as­set man­age­ment plan, start sig­nalling that there will need to be some in­vest­ment here over time to im­prove its use and util­i­sa­tion.’’

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