Court short­age af­fect­ing Auck­lan­ders


A short­age of in­door sports courts in Auck­land is af­fect­ing the qual­ity of life of Auck­lan­ders and the sit­u­a­tion is likely to get worse, ex­perts say.

Re­search com­mis­sioned by Sport New Zealand in 2013 showed Auck­land at the time had an un­der-sup­ply of 13 in­door sports courts. That short­age was es­ti­mated to in­crease to 42 over the next 20 years.

The re­search was pre­sented by Auck­land Coun­cil at a com­mit­tee meet­ing last week where it ap­proved a pro­posal for four ad­di­tional in­door courts at Western Springs Col­lege to be shared by the com­mu­nity and the school.

Western Springs Col­lege is cur­rently un­der­go­ing New Zealand’s largest ever pub­lic school re­build cost­ing $79 mil­lion.

Auck­land cur­rently has 157 school and coun­cil in­door courts to meet the de­mand of it’s close to 2 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion.

Ak­tive Auck­land Sport & Re­cre­ation de­vel­op­ment, spa­ces and places man­ager David Parker said more in­vest­ment was needed to catch up and keep pace with the Auck­land’s rapid pop­u­la­tion growth.

‘‘Sport and re­cre­ation is hugely im­por­tant in the lives of all Auck­lan­ders,’’ Parker said.

It pro­vided health, ed­u­ca­tion, so­cial and eco­nomic ben­e­fits to the city, he said.

‘‘A short­fall in fa­cil­i­ties equals a short­fall in the qual­ity of life for Auck­lan­ders.’’

Cer­tain codes would bear the full brunt of the court short­age, with a de­cline in par­tic­i­pa­tion ex­pected for in­door sports like vol­ley­ball, bas­ket­ball and bad­min- ton.

Sport New Zealand’s na­tional lead, spa­ces and places con­sul­tant Jamie Delich said the lack of sports courts re­stricted growth in in­door sports.

‘‘We’re not im­mune to global trends of de­clin­ing sport par­tic­i­pa­tion in New Zealand, and in­door fa­cil­i­ties play an im­por­tant part in sup­port­ing our teams,’’ Delich said.

Auck­land Bas­ket­ball’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Tracy Atiga said while it had ex­pe­ri­enced an in­crease in mem­ber­ship, it also dealt with lo­ca­tion changes, game post­pone­ments and can­cel­la­tions on a daily ba­sis.

It had to part­ner with larger or­gan­i­sa­tions like Unitec, Col­lege Sport and other sports codes like net­ball to man­age the ex­ist­ing in­door court de­mand.

‘‘The rip­ple ef­fect is dif­fi­cult for any one or­gan­i­sa­tion to en­dure.’’

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