League ground boycott at Hawera Hub

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 05:00 06/04/2011
POTHOLED: Hawera Hawkes chairman Llew Kahui and Southern Rugby chairman Greg Worder stand on the 40 metre line of the Hub league field with Mr Kahui's foot disappearing into the hole left after a rock the size of a two-litre milk container was re
JAY BOREHAM/ Taranaki Daily News
POTHOLED: Hawera Hawkes chairman Llew Kahui and Southern Rugby chairman Greg Worder stand on the 40 metre line of the Hub league field with Mr Kahui's foot disappearing into the hole left after a rock the size of a two-litre milk container was removed.

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League players are refusing to play on Hawera's Hub ground after an startling array of rocks and rubble were found on the playing surface.

One rock, described as being "the size of a two-litre milk container" has been found, along with brick-size items, broken glass, wire and a horseshoe.

As the controversy around playing fields at the $21 million sports complex grew, neighbours said they had seen contractors simply rolling over rocks and debris before sowing grass seed.

And now there are claims of irregular-size grounds and uneven surfaces.

South Taranaki District Council, which developed the complex, described the problems as "teething" difficulties on Monday and said it would call a meeting of all users next week to work through the issues.

Yesterday, Hawera Hawks chairman Llew Kahui said the purpose-built league field was in the worst condition of all the grounds.

"We've actually rejected the field. It's not safe for players," he said.

The club did not even want players to train on the field but it was the only one the club could get that had lights.

Mr Kahui said the Hawks would not be playing any home games on the field until it was in a safer condition.

Southern Rugby spokesman Brett Johnson disputed yesterday Hub centre manager Dave Lee's comment that no one had contacted him with concerns over the state of the fields.

"I've got a copy of the email I sent to them on March 21 – to Phil Waite [Hub project manager] and copied in to Dave Lee – and a couple of others explaining how concerned we were with the grounds," he said.

Southern Rugby Club chairman Greg Worder said he had been involved in marking the lines for the fields under contract to Burgess and Crowley.

"I pulled rocks out of there – the biggest one probably the size of a two-litre milk container. The rest were a pound-of-butter size," he said.

Mr Worder said one of the neighbours on the Reid Ave side of the grounds had told him he had seen the rocks on the surface and had asked a contractor if they would be removing them. He was told, "No, we'll just roll them into the ground".

Mr Worder also said the levels were out on all the new fields while the old fields were 100 per cent flat.

"On the new number one field there is variations along the side lines of a hundred odd millimetres and some of that variation deviated over half a metre and sloped down to a 100 mm drop," he said.

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A statement from TSB Hub manager Mr Lee said it had had calls from members of the public saying there was nothing wrong with the fields, including one from the ex-president of Southern Rugby Club, Eddie Bourke.

- Taranaki Daily News

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