Sporting jewel that never was
‘‘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.’’