Events cen­tre fin­ished

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By FLORENCE KERR

It has taken less than a year to com­plete the South Waikato Sports and Events Cen­tre with just the fit-out of equip­ment left to go.

Mayor Neil Sin­clair de­scribed the cen­tre which was com­pleted un­der time and un­der bud­get as ‘‘un­be­liev­able’’.

Sit­ting in the new cen­tre by a win­dow over­look­ing the oval, Mr Sin­clair is amazed at what has been achieved.

‘‘ This is some­thing that had been dis­cussed for over 20 years. We went to the pub­lic six or so years ago and they still wanted it. We had the money to go for­ward with it so we did, and it was a very brave de­ci­sion by the coun­cil­lors and coun­cil to do it.

‘‘There were those in the community who did de­scribe this as a ‘white ele­phant’ un­til I showed them around the cen­tre. Now they want to help and be a part of it.’’ South Waikato News asked Mr Sin­clair would this cen­tre suc­ceed given sim­i­lar cen­tres in cities around New Zealand have not.

He is adamant that the cen­tre will be a suc­cess.

‘‘This cen­tre was not built as an eco­nomic driver, al­though, it will cre­ate in­come. This is some­thing the peo­ple wanted and we said that is some­thing we will do for you. This is pri­mar­ily for our peo­ple. Lis­ten, we have had a heck of a lot of ups and downs. The amount of community in­volve­ment was slow to start, but it has built. If we didn’t build it now it would never have been built,’’ Mr Sin­clair said.

He is ne­go­ti­at­ing with four more ma­jor fun­ders that he said were likely to come on board.

‘‘If they come on board this cen­tre will all be paid for, we have re­ceived big grants from or­gan­i­sa­tion, who all be­lieve in the cen­tre and how it will en­hance our community.’’

Cen­tre man­ager Heather Gaby has solid book­ings into the new year, with sport­ing groups and cul­tural groups sign­ing up.

‘‘We even have our first wed­ding in De­cem­ber,’’ Mrs Gaby said.

The cen­tre, which will ac­com­mo­date court sports and gym­nas­tics, is also a place that can be hired for any oc­ca­sion.

‘‘We can hold func­tions from wed­dings, funerals, cor­po­rate meet­ings, birth­days the list is end­less re­ally. Those from our dis­trict will have cheaper rates then some­one from out­side hir­ing a room at the cen­tre,’’ Mrs Gaby said.

The South Waikato Sports and Events Cen­tre will be blessed by Raukawa Kau­matua on Oc­to­ber 23 with the cen­tre open­ing for busi­ness on Novem­ber 1.

The grand open­ing will be on De­cem­ber 1 dur­ing the Toko­roa Big Week­end.

As part of the big cel­e­bra­tion the South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil have an ex­tra gift for the South Waikato community.

‘‘Ev­ery­one will be able to come into the A & P Show free of charge. Coun­cil have paid the A & P So­ci­ety a fee so that ev­ery­one can en­joy the fes­tiv­i­ties and the grand open­ing of their new cen­tre,’’ Mr Sin­clair said.

BE­FORE: The old grand­stand pales in com­par­i­son to the new South Waikato Sports and Events Cen­tre.

NOW: The new cen­tre is now com­plete with the fit-out left to go. MIS­SION COM­PLETE: Mayor Neil Sin­clair hands the South Waikato Sports and Events Cen­tre keys to cen­tre man­ager Heather Gaby. The cen­tre was of­fi­cially com­pleted last week.

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