Canoe polo player keen for Wero project

SARAH ARGYLE
Last updated 08:19 05/02/2013
Cameron Butler
Supplied
KEEN KAYAKER: Beachlands resident Cameron Butler fully supports the $30 million Wero centre development.

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A canoe polo enthusiast eagerly awaits the construction of a kayak and whitewater rafting facility at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre.

The proposed project, Wero, will also eventually include a cultural visitor attraction, gallery and studio space for artists in residence and a permanent Body Odyssey exhibition.

Beachlands resident Cameron Butler says his involvement in the sport has gone beyond recreation and developed into a career.

In 2005 he started Polo Mania, the largest canoe polo equipment supplier in New Zealand.

Mr Butler is the northern region development officer for the New Zealand Canoe Polo Association and says the big problem in Auckland is finding facilities to play.

"We can only get Lloyd Elsmore pool from 8.15pm to 9.30pm one night a week and that's not a kid-friendly time to run school grades and develop the sport.

"You've got four big colleges - Howick College, Saint Kentigern, Macleans, and Pakuranga that all could be playing canoe polo but we've got nowhere to take them."

Canoe polo is the biggest kayaking discipline in New Zealand with about 2500 players.

The Manukau design concept includes canoe polo courts, and provides a safe and reliable environment for all kayaking and rafting disciplines.

"The access to Wero is excellent, the visibility is excellent and Auckland is an untapped market because there are not enough facilities," Mr Butler says.

Auckland Council is now calling for public submissions on selling land to contribute to stage two of the Wero project as part of the 2013-2014 draft annual plan.The opportunity for submissions runs until February 25.

Counties Manukau Pacific Trust chief executive Richard Jeffery says the benefits of the Wero project will be "phenomenal".

"It will create jobs in our community as well as provide a fantastic opportunity for youth development and will attract tourists to the gateway of Auckland," he says.

"If the money isn't allocated the funds will go into other projects elsewhere in Auckland."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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