Pe­tone sports hub faces un­clear fu­ture

The Hutt News - - CLASSIFIED - NI­CHOLAS BOY­ACK

The fu­ture of the pro­posed $7.4 mil­lion Pe­tone Sportsville is un­clear with rugby pulling out.

In May, the Hutt City Coun­cil agreed to a $300,000 study look­ing at the fea­si­bil­ity of the sport­ing hub, which had been un­der dis­cus­sion since 2011.

The lat­est pro­posal is for a fa­cil­ity on North Park, in­clud­ing rugby, cricket, gym­nas­tics, ten­nis and bowls. How­ever the Pe­tone Rugby Foot­ball Club’s de­ci­sion to with­draw has thrown the whole project into doubt.

Coun­cil gen­eral man­ager Matt Reid said he was dis­ap­pointed by rugby’s de­ci­sion but heart­ened by a re­cent meet­ing with Pe­tone rugby chair­man Wayne Smith.

The coun­cil and the club laid all ‘‘their cards on the ta­ble’’ and af­ter a frank dis­cus­sion, agreed to keep talk­ing.

Sportsville chair­man and for­mer All Black Al­lan Hew­son, said he was ‘‘dis­ap­pointed’’ the rugby club had with­drawn but pleased to hear it was still talk­ing to coun­cil.

He had spent the last few months talk­ing to the clubs but once rugby with­drew, he left it to the coun­cil to try and find a way for­ward.

With­out rugby, a sport­ing hub would not be vi­able, he said.

The rugby club de­clined to com­ment but its web­site noted it had with­drawn, with­out giv­ing any de­tails.

The club said it ‘‘is not stand­ing still’’ and is look­ing at its fu­ture strategic di­rec­tion.

Reid said is­sues the rugby club were con­cerned about re­lated to gover­nance, fi­nance and how to pro­tect the club’s his­tor­i­cal legacy. The work un­der way would pro­vide them with the in­for­ma­tion they re­quired.

He said the re­cent meet­ing left him hope­ful a so­lu­tion could still be found.

Of­fi­cers would re­port to coun­cil­lors on the re­sult of the fea­si­bil­ity study. With­out rugby, the op­tions would be a much smaller hub or aban­don­ing the project al­to­gether.

He re­mained firmly com­mit­ted to the Sportsville model and be­lieved it was in the best in­ter­ests of the Pe­tone sport­ing com­mu­nity.

One of the codes in­volved was gym­sports, which is run out of an in­dus­trial build­ing in Seav­iew. Reid said it was a rapidly grow­ing sport but with­out a pur­pose-built fa­cil­ity, it would strug­gle in Lower Hutt, which has a short­age of large in­dus­trial build­ings.

PHOTO: NI­CHOLAS BOY­ACK/STUFF

Pe­tone Rugby Foot­ball Club has with­drawn from the pro­posed Pe­tone Sportsville.

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