Whitianga Sports Complex
Monday, August 11, 2014 at 4:28PM
Bill Barclay

Here is the Report on the Complex by the Area Manager Sam Marshall for the Meeting on Wednesday:

"The five sports fields' turf is being maintained during the winter period by Supreme Sportsfields & Parks Ltd (SSPL), however due to the current wet weather combined with the low drainage qualities of the sport field construction, the fields have remained closed to play during June and July, with low to no play being able to be permitted until a sufficient drying period is encountered. Mercury Bay office staff are investigating field drainage options that can enhance the existing installed underground systems. Once a cost benefit analysis hasbeen undertaken, options will be brought to Council.

Rally NZ have booked the entire complex out for Friday 22 and Saturday 23 August 2014 with the car park to be utilised for the rally pits and the amenities building to be utilised for the officials and control headquarters".

Here is the Report of the Sports Park Co-ordinator that was contained in a Press Release.today:

"The first stage of the grow in process of turf (sic) at the Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park has been completed.  We are now looking to a cost effective maintenance program which will incorporate on-going drainage work for the future.  

An independent turf advisor with the NZ Turf Institute has prepared a report looking at how to best manage the fields. This will be presented at an upcoming Mercury Bay Community Board meeting.

The report tells us is that it's very common for all newly established turf to take up to a year to settle in and drain effectively. While there is drainage installed at the fields, additional remedies are needed to allow water to filter through to the drainage system in place.  The upcoming report will give the Community Board recommendations on the best way to manage this. The options that will be considered include:

Low cost options will be approved by the Community Board while any substantial work will be subject to Council's budget processes. Any work will be undertaken in summer when the weather is suitable and managed around any Sports Park summer sports programmes booked in

Currently we have 15 junior school, 6 collegiate and 7 senior netball teams playing at the Sports Park, along with numerous tournaments that have been hosted there in the past year. We also have 65 league players, 124 junior rugby players registered along with junior school football teams holding regular games out at the facility."

Make what you can of it – someone is telling porkies!

I have been informed by a person who is very close to the situation that the drainage problem is far greater than anyone is admitting. The solutions suggested above are unlikely to ever be successful because of the underlying problem brought about by the use of fine silt from the Marina in the over-lying top course in which so many attempts have been made to cultivate the turf. 

It is claimed that nothing short of complete replacement both of the installed drainage system, and the over-lay will solve the problem. The Turf Institute Report should perhaps be published on the website so that we can all see how good it is, and what is proposed.  

I prefer Sam Marshall’s version above which clearly states that the fields “have remained closed during June and July,” and that drainage options are being explored. I am told that but one game of rugby was played at the Opening, and none since in view of the turf damage. Whatever the truth, the bad news just continues to flow and not even Sam Marshall is able to “turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.”

One has the distinct feeing that we are about to hear another sob-story about huge cost involved in getting this disaster of sports complex into proper working order – costs that will come back on both Whitianga and District rate-payers.

A triumphant announcement that Rally NZ have hired the “entire complex” for pits, officials and amenities just won’t cut the mustard. Perhaps unelected Economic Development Committee member Leigh Hopper who has been intimately involved in this disaster from the outset could arrange for his friend Mr Millen to move his Leadfoot Festival there for a mud rally – much less boring than a private Hill Climb, and Whitianga residents may get real value for their money.

Sorry to make a joke of all this, but what else is left to do?




Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (http://billbarclay.co.nz/).
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