Candidates have say sports complex plan
Elections hopefuls looking for a seat on the Matamata-Piako District Council have thrown their support behind a proposal to build a new sports complex for Matamata.
But the candidates do not all agree on the best location for the development and are cautious about who will pay for its ongoing maintenance.
Candidate Adrienne Wilcock, who comes from a sporting background, said the complex would meet the sporting needs of town into the future.
‘‘As for the location, I am inclined to sit on the fence at this stage because all the proposed sites have pros and cons.’’
Wilcox, like the other candidates, said she’d like to read the Giblin Group consultation report on the initiative, to understand more about the four proposed locations and potential users.
‘‘The [Matamata] college has been suggested as a potential user but it [complex] would need to be sited very close to the college to be feasible such as Bedford Park. But that accessibility involves crossing a state highway and a railway line.’’
Parking will be key wherever the sports complex is built. And she also wonders what will happen to Headon Stadium if a new sports complex was built.
Incumbent councillor Brian Hunter said Matamata had a proud sporting history and it was important to have facilities that met the demands of the community.
‘‘A stadium will benefit and encourage current and future sports people.’’
He agreed with the Giblin Group report that Matamata Domain, which is council-owned land, should be where the complex is built.
‘‘It also makes sense to create a sports hub in that the swimming pools and squash courts would be right next door.’’
James Sainsbury said Matamata Future’s leading role in developing the sports complex was a ‘‘golden opportunity’’ to open up public conversation on the initiat- ive.
‘‘I want to emphasise, however, that the cost of building a new sports stadium is only part of what needs to be considered.
‘‘The running costs of the facility will presumably be the responsibility of the council (i.e. ratepayers) and so the implications of funding those costs needs to be understood.’’
He said decision making on this proposal needs to couple construction, with ongoing operating costs and a review of the existing sports facilities currently maintained in the council portfolio.
The domain would not be his first location choice to build the complex.
‘‘The domain was historically designated as common ground to be enjoyed by everyone and still fulfils this role contributing to the quality of our urban development as a large, central green-space.
‘‘Once an area such as the domain is lost to building construction, it will be very difficult to re-create elsewhere.’’
Joanne Aoake said on the surface the initiative looked like a ‘‘wonderful opportunity’’.
‘‘Also when speaking with the members of the Futures trust, they have put an incredible amount of time and effort in trying to secure the support of the community and council.
‘‘Why then the project has not had more movement may come down to infrastructure and or policy that determines new endeavours.’’
She thought locating the complex near Matamata College would be the best location, similar to the Cambridge velodrome’s location next to St Peter’s.
Candidate Kevin Tappin did not submit his comments before the time of print.
Matamata Domain, one of four sites being considered for a new multi-purpose sports complex.