Traffic at park expected to worsen

DIANE JOYCE
Last updated 10:48 11/12/2013

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Hawke's Bay

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The winter traffic jams at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park will not be any better by next winter, rather they will worsen.

The park's trust presented its annual report to its parent body, the Hastings District Council, last week. It said traffic congestion was a "cause of frustration for motorists".

Netball was the prime contributor to the traffic issues, with all 18 courts "fully utilised" on Saturdays.

The crucial times were between 9am and 2.30pm on Saturdays, and at their worst every 90 minutes at the changeover of games.

That would only get worse when senior football moved the grounds next winter, once changing facilities had been built for the players.

Trust chief executive Jock Mackintosh said that could add about 25 per cent more users to the park.

"I've jumped in the queue myself to see how bad it is, and worst-case scenario it can take seven minutes to get from the courts to the Evenden Rd intersection . . . normally about two minutes, if that."

Putting football in the same space could take that out to 10 minutes, he said.

At the meeting, councillors asked if anything could be done to resolve the issues before the five- nation international women's hockey match in April.

Mr Mackintosh said there was $380,000 in the budget to make changes at the Evenden and Percival roads intersection leading into the park, but it was unlikely anything major could be done before April.

The options for the intersection included a roundabout, traffic lights or a left turn only heading out of Percival Rd.

Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers questioned whether $380,000 was enough for the project.

If a roundabout were the preferred option, it would involve land purchase.

If nothing permanent could be done before the winter season, Mr Mackintosh said a compulsory left turn might be enforced at the intersection, "which certainly makes a different".

Mr Mackintosh told councillors that he was "not worried" about the hockey tournament, and that the real issues would arise when "football comes on stream".

There was only one Saturday hockey play day, and there would be a traffic management plan in place.

A planned $1 million-plus extension to Lyndhurst Rd, which would give the park a second entrance, would not be built by council until late 2015 or early 2016.

"I'd love it to be earlier," said Mr Mackintosh.

If we . . . could bring it forward that would be fantastic."

ON BUDGET

The Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park Trust finished the financial year to June 2013 almost on budget, with a surplus of $126,000. That was despite its income of $625,000 being $61,000 under budget, blamed in part on lower income from sponsorship than expected.

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Of the operational income Hastings District Council contributed almost $210,000. Ratepayers also contributed $241,000 for capital projects.

The financial report showed the trust owned property, plant and equipment totalling $12.5 million. Mr Mackintosh noted the highlights of the financial year as the completion of a 2.3km limestone cycle track, the 50 schools which used the athletics area, the "burgeoning" use of the netball precinct and extensions, and the "solid" budget result.

The park's best day of the year was again Waitangi Day, with 10,000 people on site. "There is every indication Waitangi Day at the Park will expand further, making it one of the most successful celebrations in New Zealand."

On the down side were the traffic and parking issues and a drop in sports field use, the latter put down to a touch rugby restructure and that football had not yet taken up using the fields because of the lack of change facilities.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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