Sport complex offers options for Swifts
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.