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Centre needs $4m boost

DUBBY HENRY
Last updated 05:00 05/03/2014
Bruce Pulman

UNDER WAY: Bruce Pulman Park’s half-finished Indoor Courts Centre needs a loan from Auckland Council to keep things moving.

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A HUGE indoor netball centre needs a $4 million helping hand if it's to be completed on time.

The Bruce Pulman Park Trust is asking for a loan from Auckland Council to help finish the centre in time to host the national netball championships in 2015.

The trust leases the 64ha park from Auckland Council for $1 a year and funds the building of facilities for sports including gymnastics, netball, rugby and cricket.

Its latest project, the Indoor Courts Centre, will have six courts that can be used for netball and volleyball.

But design changes since 2010 have boosted the cost of the building from $11m to $17m and the trust says it needs a hand from the council to fund the increase.

Well-known Papakura businessman Bruce Pulman was at the Papakura Local Board's last meeting along with co-trustee Marie Stechman to plead the case for the loan.

Ms Stechman told the board the trust did not lack the funds but needed to speed up the project.

"It's not that we don't have the money or can't raise the money. It's a time factor."

The trust has a $500,000 lotteries grant lined up to pay for a new sprung sports floor for the centre but will lose access to the money if it's not spent by July 31.

A $4m loan from Auckland Council would bring the building up to the state where the floor can be installed, Ms Stechman says.

The trust is asking for the loan be interest-free and repayable over five years.

Finishing the centre is a matter of urgency because Bruce Pulman Park is hosting the national championships in September 2015 as part of a two-yearly cycle with the The Trusts Stadium in Waitakere.

Netball New Zealand has already given the park a one-year extension by moving this year's championships to The Trusts Stadium instead of playing at Bruce Pulman Park as planned.

"This is a really big coup for our region. We need the stadium completed and usable for those national championships in September 2015," Ms Stechman told the board.

"The increase will provide our community with the stadium they deserve."

Mr Pulman says the netball centre will be a "magnificent facility" that Papakura can be proud of.

The local board has put its weight behind the proposal, which will be considered by Auckland Council's finance and performance committee.

Board deputy chairman Michael Turner says lending the money should be a no-brainer, given how much the council relies on and has benefited from Bruce Pulman Park.

"We're very keen for the main governing body to approve it."

Previous loans to the park's trust have always been repaid in a timely manner, he says.

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- Papakura Courier

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