Events centre finished
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.