Floor should be fixed

21:37, Jul 04 2012

Revelations about serious problems with the playing surface at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton will come as a surprise to many.

The venue has been a huge success during the ANZ Netball Championship, offering spectators superb views of the action and a terrific atmosphere.

So it is a real worry to hear the Magic coach and some players lambasting the floor as "by far the worst" they've come across, with an uneven bounce and a surface contributing to players' injuries.

There has been some rivalry between Waikato and Bay of Plenty factions over hosting rights in the past, and one could initially be forgiven for wondering if this played a part in complaints.

But there seems to be real substance to them. The complaints are coming from the players themselves and it is not the first time problems have been mentioned. The Breakers basketball team was not happy with the bounce of the ball when they played a pre-season game last year.

Just about as disturbing as the complaints was the Hamilton City Council's response reported in yesterday's Waikato Times.


The council's event facilities director business development and marketing (what a handle that is), Murray Jeffrey, said: "We take all client feedback seriously and while we believe the sports floor is currently performing within the expected range for a system of this nature, we will continue to look for opportunities to improve both the sports floor and venue as a whole."

What does this mean? Does he acknowledge there is a problem? Is he saying they will look into it or not?

Someone who speaks English needs to respond appropriately on behalf of the council.

Council staff surely need to acknowledge a problem and call in the manufacturers or installers to fix it.

If the floor is not performing as it should, there could be some contractual protection for the council.

If it does cost money to fix, so be it.

Claudelands Events Centre cost ratepayers about $68 million. That's a huge investment so it had better work well, particularly with two netball tests later in the year.

The last thing the venue and long-suffering ratepayers need is for events to be lost because of the playing surface.