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.’’