Capital sports fields' grass may be replaced
Do you think Wellington sports fields' grass needs to be replaced?
Wellington sports teams fed up with playing on sodden fields could find themselves playing on couch grass.
Wellington City Council this morning approved a $200,000 trial of couch and rye grass for playing fields.
But while the grass trial got the stamp of approval, funding for a deep water pool extensions stayed out of the 10 year budget councillors are debating.
Under the trial, which is likely to occur at a Churton Park field, the council will see if couch grass can be successfully grown in Wellington. It will be oversown with rye grass to provide the green colour.
Winter sports have suffered ongoing problems with sodden playing fields with poor drainage that turn into mud during the colder months.
Couch grass grows from a sandy base, which provides better drainage, and has been used successfully for fields in Auckland and Australia. But, there is a risk that the colder Wellington climate won't allow it to grow well here.
A report from the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute found it could be grown here, but may struggle to cope with high levels of use in winter.
But, during a strategy and policy committee meeting to finalise the long-term plan, councillors agreed it was worth doing a trial, because if successful it could provide a solution to the city's turf woes.
"This is a trial, and it could - if it works - could actually revolutionise our whole turf management throughout the city," John Morrison said.
The city had invested in artificial pitches, but turfs were still needed, he said.
"What we're seeking as a long-term goal here is a network of artificials but not forgetting our turf pitches."
The trial is scheduled for the 2013-14 year.
However, while councillors welcomed agreed to the trial for fields, funding for a deep water pool upgrade at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre was kept out of 10 year budget. A 35 metre pool would have cost $19.5 million.
While she voted against the pool's exclusion, Jo Coughlan said she was pleased there was plan for councillor officers to meet with the proponents of the facility to explore alternative funding sources and report back to the council in December.
The 1200 submissions in favor of a deep water pool extension proved there was public support for the project, she said.
"It's clear that the extension of the WRAC isn't going to go away ... The project is still very much alive and there are more ways to skin a cat."
However, five councillors voted against the discussions taking place and the December report, saying there was not enough public support for the project, and it should be shelved permanently.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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