Christchurch sports clubs upset $36m pool and library could be built at Denton Park

Denton Park is the likely location for a new swimming pool, library and customer service centre in Hornby.

Denton Park is the likely location for a new swimming pool, library and customer service centre in Hornby.

Hornby sports clubs are furious their park is the likely location for a new $35.7 million pool, library and service centre in Christchurch's southwest. 

The Halswell Hornby Riccarton Community Board decided on Saturday, after a five-and-a-half-hour meeting, to recommend the Christchurch City Council approve Denton Park as the preferred location for the facility.

The move would mean the loss of one rugby field and a cricket ground.

Hornby Rugby Football Club acting chairwoman Lyn Hucklebridge​ said she was disappointed at the board's decision. 

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"It's going to have a huge impact. They are taking the green space of Denton Park away and it will never come back."

The proposal involved the council upgrading Wycola Park, about 2 kilometres away, to include a rugby field and cricket ground to make up for those lost at Denton.

But Hucklebridge said Wycola was too far away and did not have any facilities, including changing sheds.

"Visiting teams are not going to go to Denton Park to get changed and then go to Wycola Park to play."

Hornby Cricket Club committee member Kevin Hornbrook said the club had been based at the park for 55 years and he believed the council wanted them out. 

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"The whole thing really is an absolute nightmare and the public in Hornby need to know about it."

The proposed layout at Denton Park would see the 4240 square metre pool, library and service centre run parallel to Main South Rd along the entire frontage of Denton Park, blocking out the fields behind. The cricket pitch would be located in the dead ball line of the rugby field and would prevent the cricket club from having multiple pitches. 

Both clubs want the council to locate the facility at Kyle Park, which runs parallel to Denton and was the most popular option identified by the public during community consultation.

Nearly 300 submissions were received by the council and 43 per cent supported Kyle Park, 38 per cent supported Denton Park and 14 per cent wanted the facility built at Warren Park.

However, the board decided against Kyle Park because of the cost of remediating the ground, which used to be an uncontrolled landfill.

Community board member Debbie Mora said she was "gutted" at the board's decision. She voted against the Denton Park location, along with board chairman Mike Mora and Ross McFarlane​. 

She said she was listening to the people of Hornby and supported Kyle Park. 

The facility would cost $41m to build at Kyle Park or would have to be reduced in size by 22 per cent to stay within the $35.7m budget. 

A council staff report on the issue favoured Denton Park because it created a "civic heart" for Hornby, was close to schools, shops, healthcare and public transport. It also maintained the cricket pavilion and rugby clubrooms at the park. 

Combining the pool, library and service centre into one facility would save the council $2.5m in building costs and would be $150,000 cheaper to operate annually, the report said.

The facility was expected to generate $2.1m in annual revenue, but would cost $4.2m to operate, costing the council $2.1m a year.

The council was expected to make a decision on the facility's location later this month.

However, before the building could be built a change would have to be made to the park's reserve classification and the Denton Park Management Plan. 

 - Stuff


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