Sorting maintenance

CIARA PRATT
Last updated 05:00 06/03/2014
Dan Riley

EXTREME GARDENING: Dan Riley and his children spent four days chopping down overgrown weeds behind the Trusts Arena.

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There is hope an area named after an Olympian will again be glorious.

The riparian area behind Waitakere's Trusts Arena is home to the Chris Timms memorial jetty and has not been maintained for a number of years.

Confusion over maintenance responsibility has resulted in severely overgrown weeds.

Auckland Council and Trusts Arena are finalising an agreement to resolve the area's management.

In 2012 the Trusts Arena took over management of the three fields surrounding the stadium after getting funds from owners Auckland Council and Regional Facilities Auckland to maintain them.

But maintaining the riparian area behind the arena remained the council's responsibility as it didn't transfer maintenance funds.

Dan Riley and his family spent four days mowing grass and chopping down "weeds taller than his kids" with machetes early this year so his children could use the area for pre-season rugby training.

"Some were nearly 2m high," Mr Riley said.

"The area is named after an Olympian; I'm sure he would be rolling in his grave if he saw it."

Trusts Arena chief executive Brian Blake says concerns have been rightfully raised and the area is in need of significant repair work.

"The Trusts Arena is the third-busiest public facility in Auckland behind the War Memorial Museum and Auckland Zoo.

"We work incredibly hard each year to secure enough from our various financial supporters and events to ensure we can keep our court costs at the same price they have been since 2006.

"We cannot, in good conscience to our supporters or the community, divert funding intended for community sport and recreation into the upkeep of land we neither own nor maintain."

Mr Blake says potentially taking on the cost of maintaining the area would create barriers to children participating in sport.

An Auckland Council spokesperson says the council and Regional Facilities Auckland says a provisional agreement has been reached with the Trusts Arena to clarify who's responsible for maintenance.

Chris Timms represented New Zealand in yachting, earning a gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and a silver medal four years later in Seoul.

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