Something exciting is brewing in Waitara.
The wheels are moving to get a $4 million to $6m multi-sport complex, gym and recreation facility built across the road from Waitara High School.
For about a year Sports Central Waitara, a group of about 30 people, have quietly chugged away at their goal of having the sports facility for Waitara and it's surrounding areas.
It is hoped the facility, to be built where the derelict Waitara Bowling Club sits, will be available for use in the next four to five years.
"We're now at a point where we're ready to formalise the organisation and formalise the structure to enable us to move the project forward," says spokesman Harry Cast.
Not only will it incorporate a dedicated gym, cafe and indoor basketball or netball courts but league, as well as outdoor facilities.
It is something that is definitely needed not only for recreational users but for the sports that are already struggling. He uses the example of the premiere netball teams.
"Our netball teams don't have a full-sized indoor facility to train in. They train over at the high school or they train outside. We've got three of the eight premiere netball teams out here."
At the moment netball players have to play home games in New Plymouth and their away games are held in Stratford.
"So they have to travel for everything."
This is not the first time plans for a gym or fitness centre have been planned in the town, or even on the proposed site.
Plans began several years ago to build a fitness centre beside the Waitara Rugby League clubrooms. Then the Waitara Gym Club (Gym Sports) made plans to use the bowling club as its new base of operations.
"They went a long way down the track in planning it," he says. But they put their plans to the side and joined forces with Sports Central Waitara as it was more likely to gain the funding required.
Other groups supporting the project are Waitara Athletics, Gym Sports, the two premier netball teams Tyson and Raukura, Waitara Rugby League and the sports teams from Waitara High School.
"That group will grow as more groups become involved."
At this stage the group are looking at two options. The first is to create a venue that all involved sports groups can use at the proposed site.
The second is to transform Waitara's War Memorial Hall, which is under-used at present, into a facility that also caters for ntsGthente gym sports.
This second plan has raised a few eyebrows. ``There are pros and cons about that one,'' Mr Cast says.
``We've spoken with a number of groups around town. The groups that I thought would have been the most against it see it as a really positive idea.''
Feedback from the Waitara RSA is positive as they realise that the hall is under-utilised.
``As long as they have access to the hall when they need it on key occasions they're more than happy to share the facility. Whatever it is, it will still be a war memorial.''
The plan also seems to sit well with the New Plymouth District Council, which wants to see under-utilised facilities used more in Waitara.
So far two major sponsors, TSB Community Trust and the Taranaki Electricity Trust, have pledged to financially support the project.
It is not clear yet exactly how much the trusts will give but there will be a portion left to be found in the community and other sources.
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