Cham­pion wanted for sport com­plex

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

Bruce Ma­gan reck­ons he’s a pa­tient man but he’s hop­ing the wait to build a new sports com­plex he’s back­ing will soon be over.

Al­most a decade ago Ma­gan set aside $750,000 to go to­wards build­ing a multi-sport in­door com­plex for Mata­mata but so far no one has come for­ward to ‘‘cham­pion’’ the project.

That may change over the com­ing months with a new set of coun­cil­lors just elected to the Mata­mata-Pi­ako District Coun­cil.

‘‘I’ve been talk­ing to coun­cil about this project on and off for nine years now. The coun­cil has paid lip ser­vice to it re­ally with no one pre­pared to take it on.

‘‘Mean­while we’ve had the coun­cil al­lo­cate $6.5 mil­lion to a new [civic] cen­tre here and help to build a sta­dium in Te Aroha, sim­i­lar to the one we want here in Mata­mata for a town twice the size.’’

Ma­gan said he talked with each of the five can­di­dates who con­tested the four seats on the Mata­mata Ward for the coun­cil and was pleased by their feed­back.

‘‘When the new coun­cil is formed I be­lieve some of those can­di­dates will back the project and we may see some­one come for­ward to cham­pion it.

‘‘There is a good pos­si­bil­ity we’ll get some horse power be­hind the pro­posal, some­thing we’ve not had be­fore.’’

Ma­gan, a former coun­cil­lor, is work­ing on the project with Mata­mata Fu­tures. The two have com­mis­sioned a struc­tural en­gi­neer to look at the vi­a­bil­ity of ex­tend­ing Headon Sta­dium, a pro- posal the coun­cil has ear­marked $2m for.

‘‘We are also ask­ing for $2m, at this stage, to build the sport com­plex. To me, Headon Sta­dium has had its day and spend­ing $2m on it doesn’t make sense.

‘‘We hope once this re­port is done it will clar­ify that be­cause at the mo­ment it’s just my opin­ion, and I ac­cept that.’’

Ma­gan grew up in Mata­mata and now lives in Mt Maun­ganui. He still feels con­nected to the town and wanted the sport com­plex to be an as­set young peo­ple of Mata­mata could use to excel in and en­joy.

‘‘I’ve been in­volved in sport all my life.

‘‘The peo­ple you meet and skills you learn from team sport are very valu­able. I’m also a great be­liever in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity be­cause the rate of obe­sity is an is­sue for many towns around New Zealand.’’

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