Submissions sought on stadium upgrade

SUE FRANCIS
Last updated 05:00 18/03/2014

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Community interest in the proposed Waimate Stadium upgrade is gaining momentum, Mayor Craig Rowley said last week.

The $3.5 million to $3.8m project to upgrade the building into a multi-purpose facility is the major proposal on the Waimate District Council's 2014-15 draft annual plan.

"The theme coming through is ‘get on with it and get it done - it's been long enough'," Mr Rowley said.

Meetings had been held with ratepayers throughout the district and at the stadium.

Turnout was initially low but had picked up with around 20 people at the St Andrews event, he said.

Some rural ratepayers had questioned the special stadium rate being applied across the board.

"Our response is that it's a community facility for the whole of the community, not just Waimate town. There's also a number of people in the urban area who won't use it."

The council's worst-case scenario for funding the proposed upgrade would see a special rate of $88 per property from 2015-16, compared to $22 now. This assumed no outside funding or grants for the project.

Mr Rowley said people were interested in community fundraising for the project, and he had spoken to a couple of ratepayers about being part of organising that.

"We need to start looking at outside funding now - even though it's just a proposal at this stage - so that if council decides on May 6 to go ahead then we are up and running."

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 soccer 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 use 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.

Mr Rowley urged people to make a submission.

"I don't believe there's much negative feeling out there, and of course people are entitled to their opinions and they will make submissions - that's what this is all about.

"I would like people to submit their opinions and any possible changes they see that would improve the proposal. We need to hear for and against so council can get a balanced view."

Submissions on the draft annual plan, including the stadium proposal, close on April 1.

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- The Timaru Herald

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