Residents to have say on recreation facilities

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2012

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New Plymouth district residents are to get the chance to have their say about what parks and recreation facilities they want.

The district council's policy committee has given the green light to the development of a recreation and open space strategy next year.

With the intention of giving the council an idea of what parks and facilities it needs to buy, sell or improve, the strategy will go out for consultation late next year.

One of the main areas of focus will no doubt be the proposed $28 million revamp of the TSB Stadium area, which caused so much debate during submissions on the 2012-2022 long term plan.

A council report on the current recreation and open space situation makes a clear argument for a second stadium and multi-sport area there.

The current stadium is used for a total of 2400 hours annually by sport and community groups but 4328 hours are given over each year to commercial events such as boat and energy expos.

The 36:64 ratio is considered "unusual" for such facilities which would normally operate on a 50:50 balance.

Basketball and volleyball have already indicated they would significantly increase court bookings if a six-court facility was built.

The same report highlights the runaway success of the Coastal Walkway, the use of which has grown 45 per cent since September 2008.

In January this year 100,000 people were recorded using the walkway, an increase of 10,000 from January 2011 which itself had 20,000 more than January 2010.

Women are shown to be the biggest users of open space, making up 62.5 per cent of local park users and 63.6 per cent of playground users. On the other hand, men make up 69 per cent of users of Egmont National Park.

Age also makes a difference on what facilities people treasure most. The beach is the most popular open space for people under 40 years old while walkways were the favourite for those over 40.

Teenagers are least likely to appreciate golf courses, unlike most of those over 70.

A 2012 survey found 95 per cent of households in the New Plymouth district had visited parks or reserves in the last 12 months. Of those, 94 per cent said they were satisfied with the experience.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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