More parks needed for sport codes
Hamilton’s failure to upkeep, develop and diversify its sports grounds is beginning to take its toll.
Parks tended to favour established sports, such as rugby and football, rather than emerging sports, like lacrosse.
During the winter, parks were closed because a lack of drainage meant the grounds were too wet to play sport on.
Quite often there were no alternative venues because the Hamilton City Council had not developed any new grounds to meet its population growth.
Those were just a few of the points made by Waikato Lacrosse to the city council’s 10-year plan hearing recently.
Its president Ro Edge said lacrosse was one of the sports which faced a particularly hard uphill battle.
Many of the ways that councils choose to lease sports grounds tended to favour established sports rather than emerging sports.
Lacrosse had recorded phenomenal growth. Its winter league started in 2011 with five teams, this year it had about 24 teams.
‘‘The problem we had at the beginning of last summer was we were meant to be playing at Gower Park and have our league played there,’’ Edge said.
‘‘But because the winter had been so wet, and there has been a lack of investment in drainage at Waikato sports parks over the last, probably, 10 years at least, they’re basically getting too much demand on them because there’s no sports fields getting developed.’’
Last year, two Waikato Lacrosse tournaments at Gower Park had to be cancelled, and moved to Bremworth Park only one week before the league was due to begin.
‘‘The consequences of under investment in sporting infrastructure are just huge, especially for us,’’ Edge said.
Because of limited suitable facilities available, Waikato Lacrosse’s men’s field game has now had to convert to box lacrosse, which could be played in the inline hockey rink on Dey Street.
Edge said Waikato Lacrosse had been involved with Waipa¯ District Council, Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council, and managing recreation spaces seems ‘‘to be a challenge for everyone’’.
‘‘It’s about bringing all those communities of Hamilton together at one place too, so I think it would be amazing if it could happen.’’