The hotly debated Multi-Use Sports Facility proposal will likely be taken off the table by Napier City Council.
Chief Executive Wayne Jack has today advised the Mayor and Councillors that the business case for the facility - which comprised multiple indoor courts and retail space, encircled by a velodrome – should be “parked”, despite strong support from sectors of the sporting community. Funds allocated to the project could now be considered for reallocation through the Long Term Plan process.
“It’s clear that while a multi-use venue could add real value to the city of Napier and to sporting codes such as cycling, volleyball, basketball and futsal in particular, we cannot proceed without widespread community support. Regardless of whether we could afford it – and certainly there was interest from potential sponsors and commercial entities in this regard as well as sporting codes - we would need wider approbation to proceed.”
Mr Jack says the detailed business case, which was in the process of being updated following feedback from workshops with Sport NZ and Councillors, will now be put to one side. A paper to this effect is being prepared ahead of a Council meeting on 30 August.
“Through our business case development, it’s become very clear that Napier has a real commitment to positive health and wellbeing outcomes,” says Mr Jack. “With that in mind, NCC has already investigated and implemented a wide range of projects aimed at improving participation rates such as Bay Skate, the ever-expanding network of bike trails, the ongoing improvements to the waterfront, the development of a destination playground, and the planned upgrades to the Aquatic Centre. We recognise that a range of facilities is required to support all types of activity.”
Sport NZ has also demonstrated that they don’t support the project, says Mr Jack. A letter outlining Sport NZ’s reasoning was received by NCC in June and discussed with Councillors six weeks ago. Although the Sport NZ response was “disappointing”, Mr Jack says “we have flagged the option of taking a revised business case to them in the future, if there’s community demand. By then, Sport NZ will have completed their velodromes strategy as well, which could be helpful.”
Mayor Bill Dalton says he looks forward to discussing the option of removing the business case from the Council programme of work at the upcoming meeting. “Whatever the outcome then, I’ve certainly been pleased with the amount of great work done on the project to date. Council staff have juggled this project along with numerous others and much of the research undertaken and statistics gathered have informed other projects, such as the Aquatic Centre expansion.”
6 April 2018
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