Sport com­plex of­fers op­tions for Swifts

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - LAWRENCE GULLERY

The in­tro­duc­tion of a new sports com­plex in Mata­mata could help foot­ball grow into a re­gional hub for the sport in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty.

Mata­mata Swifts foot­ball club hopes the sport com­plex pro­posal by Mata­mata Fu­tures could be de­vel­oped along­side a na­tional plan to up­grade foot­ball fa­cil­i­ties around New Zealand.

There are four sites being con­sid­ered for the trust’s pro­posal, in­clud­ing Mata­mata Col­lege, Bed­ford Park, Swap Park and the Do­main. A re­cent con­sul­ta­tion re­port look­ing at the four sites rec­om­mended the Do­main as the pre­ferred lo­ca­tion.

The Swifts club has been based at the Do­main since the 1930s. The club has been one of the groups the trust has worked with on its plan for a sport com­plex.

Swifts me­dia man­ager Dwayne Bar­low said the club is out growing the Do­main. Wet weather this win­ter has meant se­nior games had been played on fields nor­mally re­served for ju­niors, putting pres­sure of fa­cil­i­ties.

The club had been con­sid­er­ing a move to Swap Park which would al­low it room for ex­pan­sion. De­vel­op­ing the Mata­mata Fu­ture’s sport com­plex at Swap Park would pro­vide the club with more op­tions to grow the sport.

‘‘We’re hop­ing the two plans can be de­vel­oped to­gether. We’ve looked at Swap Park for a num­ber of years, that’s noth­ing new but it’s a big project for a small foot­ball club.

‘‘So we see an op­por­tu­nity for a project like the one the Fu­tures group is look­ing at, to be de­vel­oped on a green field venue at Swap Park, as good for the club.’’

Bar­low said the club would like to move its head­quar­ters to Swap Park. The sport com­plex would be an ideal base for its ad­min and chang­ing fa­cil­i­ties, with the sur­round­ing park used for its main play­ing fields.

Being based at the sport com­plex would also al­low the club ac­cess to an in­door fa­cil­ity where it could also de­velop Fut­sal, the in­door ver­sion of foot­ball.

The club has also been in talks with WaiBOP Foot­ball and New Zealand Foot­ball about an over­all plan to up­grade foot­ball fa­cil­i­ties around the coun­try.

‘‘The view is that rather than hav­ing a one home for foot­ball [for Waikato-Bay of Plenty] there may be smaller, strate­gi­cally placed foot­ball hubs in the re­gion.

‘‘And Mata­mata would be one of those sites. There’s a pos­si­bil­ity of ac­cess to fund­ing through that channel as well.’’

Bar­low said he un­der­stood Swap Park was not the pre­ferred op­tion for many in­volved in dis­cus­sions about the sport com­plex pro­posal, be­cause of its dis­tance from the col­lege.

‘‘But re­ally it’s only a three or four minute walk to the top level of Swap Park.

‘‘We be­lieve it would be ideal and we’re hope­ful it could be de­vel­oped there.’’

Above: Mata­mata Swifts’ Dwayne Bar­low.

Left: Swifts’ Chris Walker dur­ing a game against Ngongo­taha at Mata­mata Do­main. Swifts hope to move to Swap Park but want to keep a pres­ence at the Do­main.

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