River plan positive spin-off for water sports
'We're very happy with what we've seen'AARON LEAMAN
Hamilton's biggest rowing club says an ambitious river plan to better connect Hamilton to the Waikato River could have a positive long-term spinoff for the sport.
Last weekend, Hamilton City Council held a public drop-in day for people to give feedback on the Hamilton City River Plan.
The 30-year plan aims to create a blueprint for how Hamilton could better engage with the 16-kilometre stretch of the Waikato River that runs through the city.
Among the ideas to flow from the plan are an artist's impression of redeveloped boatshed facilities for sports clubs along the river.
Waikato Rowing Club president Ian Paterson said the club had a "very positive meeting" with Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker to discuss the river plan.
"Obviously, we are still very early in the process but so far we're very happy with what we've seen," Paterson told the Waikato Times.
"The mayor indicated that the council was keen to see rowing clubs come together near the southern end of the Victoria St bridge which would leave us in the same place."
Waikato Rowing Club has 250 members along with affiliated members.
Although the club was one of the city's biggest river users, the Waikato River belonged to everyone, Paterson said. "It's not our river and ideally we'd like to involve more people with the river and, perhaps in the future, look at having a Waikato Sports Club that involves rowing, waka ama, kayaking and river biking clubs," he said.
"I may be the president of our club at the moment but the river plan is talking about the next 30 years. I'm thinking about the younger ones and it's crucial all the clubs are in the right place. There is definitely a demand for space and a need to accommodate more rowers and I feel that we're starting to make progress with the council on this."
The Hamilton City River Plan is budgeted to cost ratepayers $200,000 and will be finished in August.
Speaking to the Times earlier, Hardaker said the city had a lot of rowing clubs which produce many champions. For the city to make the most of the river, it was essential for the council to engage with clubs over their plans.
Paterson said for the river plan to be successful, there would have to be cooperation from many river clubs and users.