Sports field programme delivers more for players
Auckland Council’s Sports Field Capacity Development programme has this year added more than 18,000 hours of playing capacity on the region’s sports fields annually.
Through the $16 million, 2013/14 programme of artificial turf construction, sand carpeting, lighting and drainage projects, an additional 353 playing hours per week have been added.
Cr Calum Penrose, deputy chair of the Parks, Recreation and Sport Committee, says the outcomes of this project are two-fold.
“The provision of good, useable sports fields is vital to the health and well-being of Aucklanders.
“Taking a region-wide and well thought out approach to that provision means that we are ensuring that supply meets the demand of our sports codes and clubs,” he says.
Mark Bowater, Manager of Local and Sports Parks for Auckland Council, says council has begun a review of the programme and addressed the displacement of summer sports, due to construction.
“With one third of our ten year programme behind us, it is an opportune time to take what we have learned so far – our greater understanding of sports field supply and demand – match it with updated population projection figures, and refine our proposed future programme to better meet the region’s needs.
“Some projects from the draft programme will be deferred and some brought forward – this is about being responsive, about optimising the programme and, ultimately, making best use of our fields.
“It also goes without saying that the summer season is the optimal time of the year to carry out construction projects so new facilities, including cricket wickets and nets, are providing alternate locations for summer codes,” he says.
The 2014/15 programme has a planned $23 million allocated to regional, local board and renewals funded projects. Currently design and consent work is underway for the following year’s construction projects.
The review of the programme methodology will be reported back to the Parks, Recreation and Sport Committee in November. It is expected that a shortfall in training capacity, especially on the North Shore, Howick and Pakuranga area, and central Auckland, will remain priority areas for the programme to focus on.