Top courts for Taita res­i­dents

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE - NI­CHOLAS BOY­ACK

Taita res­i­dents will soon be able to play on squash courts iden­ti­cal to those used for the re­cent Com­mon­wealth Games in Aus­tralia.

Fraser Park Sportsville is be­ing touted as a game changer for sport across the re­gion, as the Hutt City Coun­cil in­vests in a num­ber of ma­jor sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

Squash New Zealand Chief ex­ec­u­tive Jamie Tong said the six courts in the new fa­cil­ity will be a ma­jor boost for the code, na­tion­ally and ‘‘po­ten­tially’’’ in­ter­na­tion­ally.

‘‘This will be the crown jewel of Welling­ton squash fa­cil­i­ties.’’

Coun­cil gen­eral man­ager Matt Reid is pre­dict­ing big things for the Taita sport­ing hub, which is due to be com­pleted by De­cem­ber.

Mem­ber clubs will sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease their mem­ber­ship and it will get one mil­lion vis­its a year, he said..

Stage one of the project in­cluded an ar­ti­fi­cial turf for rugby and soc­cer, and up­graded di­a­monds for soft­ball. Stage two fea­tures a $13.1 mil­lion build­ing, with clu­b­rooms for all the clubs on the park, a cafe and a large in­door train­ing space.

It could be squash, how­ever, that is the big win­ner.

A spe­cial­ist team from Ger­many will in­stall the courts, which are be­ing as­sem­bled in Den­mark.

Squash New Zealand and the lo­cal squash com­mu­nity con­tributed $400,000 to­wards the project.

Tong be­lieves that hubs are the fu­ture for sport across the coun­try. Squash is a good way of get­ting fit and once mem­bers of other codes see the new courts, they are likely to give squash a go, he said.

An ad­ja­cent in­door train­ing fa­cil­ity has been de­signed to ac­com­mo­date a tem­po­rary glass court, which means it can host ma­jor tour­na­ments.

Fu­ture de­vel­op­ment could in­clude a sec­ond hockey turf, a sand based foot­ball ground and a $3 mil­lion home for gym­sports.

It is all part of a coun­cil plan to pro­vide res­i­dents in some of the poor­est ar­eas of the city with fa­cil­i­ties that will en­cour­age them to par­tic­i­pate in sport.

The nearby $12 mil­lion Wal­ter Nash Cen­tre, fea­tur­ing a large mod­ern li­brary and a range of in­door sports fa­cil­i­ties, is at­tract­ing more than one mil­lion vis­i­tors a year.

The re­cently opened $6 mil­lion bowl­ing hub in Nae­nae hosted an in­ter­na­tional event fea­tur­ing the best bowlers from Aus­tralia and New Zealand play­ing in the in­door arena for a cash purse of $100,000.

Mem­ber­ship of the Nae­nae club has gone up from 180 to 750 and Reid pre­dicts it will con­tinue to grow.

‘‘They are one of the big­gest bowl­ing clubs in New Zealand now.’’

NI­CHOLAS BOY­ACK/STUFF

Coun­cil gen­eral man­ager Matt Reid pre­dicts Fraser Park Sportsville will be a game changer for sport in the re­gion, with squash set to be one of the ma­jor ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

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