Stink rink forces skaters into car park
A young speed skater has been forced to train in a hardware store car park because of the dilapidated state of his local rink.
‘‘Slippery’’ with ‘‘bumps and cracks’’ is how Hadley Beech, 16, described Lower Hutt’s Avalon Skating Rink, which was built in the mid-1970s. He has had to look elsewhere to train as he tries to break into the New Zealand World Championships team headed for the Netherlands this year.
With an indoor facility used by his Valley Inline Speed Skating Club (VISS) too far away in Upper Hutt, Beech, from Lower Hutt, and his clubmates have taken to training in the Mitre 10 Mega car park in Petone after trading hours.
‘‘We can’t train until the store has closed and all the staff have left.
‘‘By that time it’s pitch black outside... The lights, they turn out every once and a while. Sometime we have them, sometimes we don’t.’’
Beech said the aging concrete at the Avalon track was riddled with cracks and bumps making it too dangerous to use. It was also shorter than the standard 200 metre track used in top-level competition.
VISS has joined with the Rimutaka and Hutt City Inline hockey clubs to lobby the Hutt City Council for a new roller sports facility.
Rimutaka Inline Hockey director of coaching Sandy Nimmo has made a submission to replace the ‘‘obsolete’’ facility in council’s long term plan.
As well as the track being unusable, the interior concrete pad was occupied by a drain, gutter and lawn which made activities like hockey impossible, she said.
A quote of around $500,000 for a new roller sports facility had been received by Nimmo which would include the cost of removing the old rink. The facility would include a pad for activities like learning to skate and hockey, a speed skating track and lights for night-time use.
She was confident the speed skating and hockey clubs would be able to assist in meeting some of the costs.
The facility would be a regional venue that could also be used to host international events.
A similar rink built in Timaru had been a boon for local roller sports and had attracted this year’s Oceania speed skating championships, she said.
Divisional manager for parks and gardens Bruce Hodgins said the council was generally supportive of Nimmo’s proposition, but did not consider it a priority. Though the track was not in good condition there was currently no funding for it in the Long Term Plan.
He put the cost of a new facility at closer to $700,000.