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Karori won’t give up on synthetic turf

May 24th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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SPONGEY TURF: Parents Trevor Delany (left) and a visitor from Auckland watch the Bears take on the the Cheetahs at Karori Park.

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SWAMPY TURF: Karori Park's little Okavango.

Karori Park has enough space to accommodate both a first class cricket wicket and a synthetic turf for football, says Karori Park Sports Club chairman Andy Foster, and he will keep talking to the council – of which he is a member – in the hope of a rethink.

He thinks Karori Park warrants inclusion because of the size of the club and the winter programme Waterside Karori Football Club offers at the park.

Mr Foster says only a third of Karori Park had major drainage work done in 2007, and it is still unplayable when heavy rain has fallen for any length of time.

A possible alternative for the Western Suburbs at Ian Galloway Park down the bottom of Old Karori Rd is not the answer for Karori, he says, especially since that option is well back in the queue for development.

The likely sites for outdoor artificial turfs are: Evans Bay Park, Alex Moore Park in Johnsonville, Wakefield Park, and Grenada North Park (and possibly Ian Galloway Park).

He says the Waterside Karori AFC cannot train at the park midweek because of weekend pressure on the grounds from junior, senior men’s grades and women’s grades.

Waterside club members currently travel to Kaiwharawhara, Wilton or local school grounds to train midweek.

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BOGGED DOWN: Roped off areas of wet turf at Karori Park.

As far as artificial turfs are concerned, he says the more the better.

More could see an expansion of mid-week league football, fewer transfers and cancellations in weekend sport, and that would benefit club spirit and membership.

The Nairnville synthetic turf, which opened in 2009, is an example of how more midweek leagues and an eight-week tournament are now possible as well as club based training, he says.

With a turf at Karori they could train locally. This would further develop junior grades and remove the need to transfer to Grenada or Onepotu if games are cancelled due to poor ground conditions.

Glenn McGovern, Wellington City Council’s manager of sports, recreation and planning, says they are working through the planning issues for each site and talking with Capital Football and The Wellington Football Union.

Feedback to the council on the preferred sites has so far been positive.”

“Wellington is a challenging city to construct sports facilities in – that’s an understatement,” he says.

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MULTIPLE USES: A versatile community facility.

Planners have to deal with heavy rainfall, clay soils, and parks located on old landfill sites or drained swamps such as Karori Park.

Criteria for choosing sites include:
•    the history of council spending in the area;
•    existing and potential growth in the park’s use once a synthetic turf was in place;
•    the demographics of the area and population growth forecasts;
•    the proximity to public transport and other sporting facilities and sports code support.

Two factors went against Karori Park being chosen, he says.

One was investment in the park in 2007 when a cycle track was built and drainage improved. It also has wide community use for activities other than team sport.

He says there is a conflict of interest between summer sports (first class cricket) and those in winter (football).

He does not think the park is big enough to accommodate its present cricket use in summer and an artificial turf.

Wellington will have two outdoor synthetic turfs once the old Winter Show-grounds new turf is opened on July 24 by the Mayor Kerry Prendergast.

But there will be a wait of two years before the other sports grounds identified for possible development begin to be upgraded and winter sports teams train and play on weather proof turf.

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