Pavilion's first year a big success

The first year of operation since the opening of the Port Marlborough Pavilion in Waikawa has been hailed as a resounding success.

The first anniversary of the pavilion was celebrated on Saturday night, with members of the various groups which make use of it coming together to look back on an excellent year.

Pavilion manager Dale Ashworth said they couldn't have hoped for a better first 12 months.

"The community has really embraced it. We have seven sports groups that use the facility and all kinds of other groups like kindy gym, Zumba, Probus and the Picton Quilters - it really is for everyone," she said.

The pavilion has also become the new home of the Waitohi Rugby Football Club, who were in the process of making the move over from their long-time base at Waitohi Domain. The club played Central in the Marlborough Club Rugby premier division final on Saturday, but unfortunately weren't able to take the win.

However, the loss didn't dampen the spirits of those celebrating the pavilion's first anniversary. Waitohi committee member Barry Dorset said they were very pleased with their new home base.

"This is a fantastic facility for the club. It's not just about the guys playing in the premier league, but about the little ones coming through the junior ranks. We have to nurture them and the pavilion is perfect for that - there is a great family atmosphere here," he said.

The pavilion is stage one of the project and stage two is already on the cards. It will include two squash courts, a gymnasium, conference rooms and netball courts.

Ashworth said the pavilion had been pulling its weight in terms of generating income, with rates for community groups and commercial use making it affordable for everyone. Few weekends go by when there isn't some sort of function like a wedding or 21st birthday party.

"It's been beyond what we had budgeted for, in a good way. We are in the process of analysing what we need for the future stages," she said.

Marlborough District Council assets and service manager Mark Wheeler attended the celebrations and said council was very pleased with how the community had got behind the pavilion. "It has been a very good investment for Picton and is very well used. There is always something going on. It's never easy but management is doing a really good job," he said.

The Picton community had benefited hugely from the pavilion as there had never been anything like it in the town, he said.

The Marlborough Express