Back stadium, urges mayor

SUE FRANCIS
Last updated 05:00 05/03/2014
Waimate stadium
Supplied

NEW-LOOK STADIUM: An artist’s impression of the planned Waimate Stadium upgrade, which would cost an estimated $3.5-$3.8m.

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It was now or never for a new community facility for Waimate, Mayor Craig Rowley said at a meeting to launch plans for a $3.5 million to $3.8 million rebuild of the existing stadium.

The community has until April 1 to provide feedback on the proposal to remodel the stadium into a modern multi-purpose facility.

Previous councils had tried to get community backing for other stadium proposals, and the new council had to go for it, Mr Rowley said.

"We believe the proposal utilises the existing structure in such a way that it is very cost effective, while allowing us to achieve a building with a life expectancy equal to a new building."

The community had signalled it wanted the existing stadium as the basis of any new facility, and council made that the starting point, he said.

The plans include: moving the stage to the opposite end of the building; new toilets and showers; space for a regulation-size basketball, indoor netball, tennis or football court; a commercial kitchen capable of serving 300 people; a separate function room/dining space; tournament office, and manager's office downstairs. An atrium level will utilise natural light, and includes toilets and changing rooms. This level was configured to accommodate a fitness centre for an outside organisation to install and run.

An external funding committee made up of community and council representatives would manage the fundraising process, Mr Rowley said.

Without any external funding the rebuild would require an increase in the stadium rate from $22 to $88 over two years. Running costs and maintenance would be covered under existing rates.

The Lottery Grants Board had dedicated funds for community facilities. This would be supplemented by local fundraising, and non-financial sponsorship such as people donating skills and time.

"We need people to get behind this. The people who say ‘I'm not going to use it' have to see that it's a community facility," he said.

"We need this for our community and for our young families who are looking to come to the district and work at the Glenavy dairy factory."

The price is for the stadium only. Landscaping and car parking would be additional.

Property manager Sue Kelly said the new stadium would have a part-time manager responsible for bookings and promotion of the facility.

Representatives of sports groups, schools, and the community attending the launch were positive about the proposal.

Waimate sportsman and business owner Des McMaster encouraged the council to factor the use of local tradespeople into the project right from the start. "We don't want all the money spent on this to go out of town."

Mr Rowley said it could be factored into the tendering process that the community wanted local sub-contractors used, but it had to be cost-effective.

After the submission process the council would make a final decision on May 6. Construction could begin after the Waimate Shears in October, and was expected to take about nine months, he said.

Public meetings and open days are being held in the district and at the stadium. The plans can be viewed at the local government centre and online.

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Mr Rowley said the toilets leaked, lighting and ventilation were poor, and the floor at the end of its life. There were safety issues at the stage door, which opened on to a 1.8-2.4 metre drop to the concrete below.

- The Timaru Herald

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