Sports Centre proposed For Harry Barker Reserve

31 October 2016

Poverty Bay Cricket Association (PBCA) has outlined to Gisborne District Council its vision for a multi-purpose indoor sport, training and education centre at Harry Barker Reserve.

PBCA chairman Chris Slater said the association wanted the Council to help ‘‘support us to get this off the ground”. Buy-in from the community was required as the PBCA approached various funding sources.

It would be of multi-purpose, cross-code use and potentially include netball, soccer and other sporting uses in addition to cricket training lanes.

Sporting infrastructure in Gisborne had taken a massive step forward with the development of a purpose-built softball diamond at Waikirikiri Park, new club rooms for Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club and the artificial hockey turf at Harry Barker Reserve.

But other district sporting associations had expressed to him a surprise at the lack of indoor facilities in Gisborne.

Mr Slater said such a facility could attract the Black Caps, Northern District Knights or the Silver Ferns to train in Gisborne, as other new infrastructure had attracted the Hurricanes, international hockey and the Black Sox.

Sports science, technology and education providers were among other possible users as athletes trained at the facility.

A hub for all

He said the indoor complex would be "another string to our bow" and "a hub for all".

Mr Slater described the PBCA as the guardians of cricket in the district, administering the game for more than 4000 players from Te Araroa and Wairoa, and inland to Matawai.

Poverty Bay was a successful association with numerous players across Northern Districts (Northland, Counties, Bay of Plenty, Hamilton Waikato Valley and Poverty Bay), and age group representative sides including five women in the ND Spirit senior women's side.

PBCA secretary-treasurer Kim Shaw said the association had discussed its plans with Sport Gisborne-Tairawhiti, who supported them as much as they could.

A business plan was developed in mid 2015 in conjunction with the Harry Barker Reserve Sports Facility Trust during the development of the artificial hockey turf, but that would need updating.

Pat Seymour asked if there was sufficient space for the indoor facility at the proposed site, and Mr Shaw replied, "absolutely".

The space in between the hockey turf and Lytton Road could not be used for anything else.

Indoor facility

An indoor facility on that site was conceived as stage 2 of the Harry Barry Reserve Sports Facilities Trust process after the hockey turf, he said.

Nedine Thatcher Swann, the council’s group manager of community planning and development, said the Council’s community facilities strategy, co-funded by the Eastland Community Trust, was scheduled to be completed in June 2017.

Council chief executive Judy Campbell said that did not necessarily mean Council would say no to the PBCA’s proposal.

Graeme Thomson said it was a case of PBCA getting the process right.

Mr Shaw told the Herald the PBCA had considerable financial reserves, accumulated over years, for the sole purpose of building an indoor centre.

The PBCA would need further assistance from funding providers, but that would require council support for the proposal.

Any other assistance from the council would be gratefully accepted, he said.


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