Astroturf proposal has town buzzing

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 11:48 28/05/2014
turf
JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN/ Fairfax NZ
EXCITED: Molyneux Turf Committee members Bridgette Winter, with Benjamin, 2, Paula Hill (president of Alexandra Hockey) and Sally Mullally.

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A hockey astroturf in Alexandra will not only attract untapped hockey talent but will generate business in the region, the town's hockey fraternity says.

The Molyneux Turf Committee, made up of 18 members, has stepped over its first hurdle in finding a "perfect" location for a hockey turf - and getting it accepted in principle by the Vincent Community Board last week.

The board only received one submission - from the hockey committee - after asking for expressions of interest for alternative uses for the ice rink site once the new one is built.

In November the board agreed to contribute up to $1.5 million by way of a loan to IceinLine for the new ice rink and associated building beside Molyneux Pool, with the level of shared use of common facilities to be maximised. The ice rink and pool plant can be set up to enable the aquatic centre to receive heat from the ice plant.

Committee member and coach Sally Mullally said board members were "buzzing" at the idea of an astroturf filling the gap left after the existing ice rink site would be abandoned when the new rink was built.

"It's really positive. The board basically thought it was great as long as other groups could use it."

The new turf would provide a hockey facility not currently available in Alexandra and would help meet current and growing demand for accessible practice and competition facilities, she said. Currently adults had to travel to Cromwell for training and games, while children played on the tennis courts at Pioneer Park.

"The tennis courts are chocka every day of the week during winter with hockey. There is just more numbers playing and it would only improve if we had a turf ... it would also make it a bit closer for ones in the Maniototo or Teviot Valley."

It would also provide the ability to host regional, national and age group tournaments which require a minimum of two full-size turf areas in one region (Cromwell being the other).

Committee member Bridgette Winter said the existing ice rink site would be perfect as it was not only well positioned but it meant hockey would form part of the town's sports hub.

The building would also be used to provide hockey headquarters, clubroom and changing facility, she said.

The proposal was estimated to cost between $900,000 and $1.3 million which would be funded through grant applications and support from the local community, including business advertising, sponsorship and fundraising, she said.

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The committee was already organising a full feasibility study to report back to the board with, as well as making grant applications, she said.

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