$3.1m extension request for Rototuna indoor sport centre

The Rototuna Indoor Recreation Centre will be used for netball, basketball, futsal, badminton and volleyball. It's due ...

The Rototuna Indoor Recreation Centre will be used for netball, basketball, futsal, badminton and volleyball. It's due to be complete by June 2017.

A late bid for more playing space at a Hamilton indoor recreation centre that could add millions to the bill has been labelled "a little bit rich" by a councillor.

But the Waikato volleyball community says it has waited years for a venue and the Rototuna Indoor Recreation Centre design doesn't deliver the number of courts promised.

The $9.2m centre is destined for the site of the Rototuna High Schools and has four courts, but Waikato Volleyball says it needs five.

Volleyball Waikato has asked for an extension - said to cost about $3.1m - to the $9.2m centre.

Volleyball Waikato has asked for an extension - said to cost about $3.1m - to the $9.2m centre.

Hamilton City Council estimates that would add $3.1m to the bill, so councillors must decide on Wednesday whether to spend it.

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The extra money would be used to add one more court - enough space for two competition-sized volleyball courts.

Volleyballers have been hanging out for a venue that can hold eight courts, said councillor Dave Macpherson, also a ...

Volleyballers have been hanging out for a venue that can hold eight courts, said councillor Dave Macpherson, also a volunteer for Volleyball Waikato.

Council is already putting $4.5m into the centre, the Ministry of Education is contributing $4.7m, and the trust which will govern the centre will raise $500,000 to $800,000 for the fit-out.

West ward councillor Dave Macpherson, also a volunteer for Volleyball Waikato, said the extra courts were what was promised originally.

Indoor sports are growing in popularity but short changed in terms of public facilities, he said.

Asking for an extension is going to make council look 'like a little kid who's going back for seconds before they've ...

Asking for an extension is going to make council look 'like a little kid who's going back for seconds before they've finished their dinner', says councillor Mark Bunting.

"[Volleyballers] have been hanging out for an eight-court venue."

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School events already have to be run across two different schools at the same time, he said, which is hard for volunteers to manage.

But he sees the $3.1m figure quoted for the extension as excessive.

A second Hamilton recreation centre could also be on the cards, so putting the $3.1m into that instead has also been mooted.

Volleyballers want the extra space now, Macpherson said, but would consider a plan to hold off and put the money into a future recreation centre.

"We would be willing to wear that."

The extension didn't seem the best idea to east ward councillor Mark Bunting, but he said he'd keep an open mind.

"I think the original [Rototuna] deal was a really good one. I think it's a little bit rich to come back and say, oh, by the way, we want more now," he said.

"It's going to make us look like a little kid who's going back for seconds before they've finished their dinner."

Investing the money into a second venue in future could be a good option, he said.

Sport Waikato also favours a bigger investment in a second recreation centre, chief executive Matthew Cooper said.

"If it's $3.1m for one extra court, the opportunity cost is to leverage that $3.1m with willing partners [for a second centre]."

"I certainly understand the need for volleyball but I think that opportunity cost here outweighs the potential decision to put $3.1m into one extra full-sized court."

Councillors have three choices on Wednesday, but must pick fast so the centre is ready for students to use in June 2017.

They can either stick with the original agreement, pay the full $3.1m, or split the cost with the trust which will govern the recreation centre.

Hamilton City Council staffers have also recommended that councillors consider a second recreation centre in the next long term plan.

The Ministry of Education wasn't approached for extra funding for the Rototuna centre, a statement said.

The ministry is leading the construction project but Hamilton City Council is working directly with the non-school groups involved and providing specifications, spokesman Jerome Sheppard said.

Councillor Dave Macpherson will check with the chief executive before the council meeting about whether he can take part in Wednesday's discussions or if his involvement with Waikato Volleyball is a conflict of interest.

What are the options for council?

* Stick with the plan: Build a centre which provides four netball, four basketball, four futsal, 16 badminton or six volleyball courts.
* Pay the extra: Fund the full $3.1m needed to make the centre a five-court facility, through a grant to the Ministry of Education.
* Split the cost: Council funds part of the extension, the trust behind the recreation centre raises "a significant portion". Part of the build would have to be put on hold, adding a $500,000 temporary end wall to the bill.
Source: Hamilton City Council

 - Stuff


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