16 Feb 2020

Multi-sports hub recommended for New Plymouth Raceway

8:02 am on 16 February 2020

Independent experts have recommended a multi-sports hub focused on community sport be established at New Plymouth Racecourse.

Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.

Sport Taranaki has been a vocal critic of the Yarrow Stadium (pictured) upgrade. Photo: RNZ/Robin Martin

Sport Taranaki commissioned Global Leisure Group and 106 Architects, which were responsible for Christchurch's Ngā Puna Wai Sports Complex, to come up with a master plan for a sports hub in Taranaki.

A response to frustration felt by sports codes over a lack of facilities, the investigation was endorsed by the region's three district council's last year.

Sport Taranaki chief executive officer Michael Carr said basketball was an example of a sport that was missing out.

"The New Plymouth Basketball Association needs 87 percent more indoor court space than they are able to access at the three-court TSB Stadium. New Plymouth is one of only four regions, the others being West Coast, Northland, and Gisborne, without a six indoor court facility."

Carr, who backed the recommendation for a multi-sports hub, said a second hockey turf and more volleyball courts were also envisaged.

"Although this may not be a surprise to many, it was really important that the consultants went through a robust process with a fresh set of eyes to get to this conclusion."

Sport Taranaki has been a vocal critic of the $50 million repair and upgrade of the quakeprone Yarrow Stadium, arguing it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work towards a genuine multisports facility.

The stadium's owner, the Taranaki Regional Council, is forging ahead with its plans for Yarrow and Taranaki residents have already begun paying a 25-year targeted rate for the project.

Carr said if the proposed hub catered for the 16 sports groups already involved, at least 15,000 people a week could use it for practices, games, events and tournaments.

That figure did not include potential casual and recreational users, he said.

"Surely there are some massive community well-being and health benefits to be realised through bringing people together in a setting such as this."

Taranaki Racing also supported the concept.

Its chief executive officer, Carey Hobbs, said it was happy to share the space.

"We believe that racing and a multi-sport hub can beneficially co-exist at the New Plymouth Raceway and will be a magnificent asset for future generations in New Plymouth."

Global Leisure and 106 Architects spent the past six months working alongside sports codes, the New Plymouth District Council, Te Atiawa - Te Kotahitanga o Atiawa and Sport Taranaki to identify the appropriate scale of any new development

The consultants will continue to work alongside stakeholders to draft concept plans and explore governance models. This should be completed by June 2020.

The intention is to develop a master plan in time for the next Draft New Plymouth District Council Long Term Plan which will be released for public consultation in early 2021.

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