Alarm over sports cuts

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The community voice for local sports clubs is calling for strengthened support from Queenstown Lakes District Council. 

Wakatipu Sports Users Group is warning QLDC not to forget about the growing need for local sporting facilities, despite widespread belt-tightening in this year’s annual plan. 

QLDC’s proposing to shave $714,000 off capital expenditure for active and passive recreation – from $6.5 million this financial year to $5.8m in the new council year beginning July 1. 

Group spokesman Craig “Ferg” Ferguson says clubs are worried they’ll suffer if there’s no money set aside for sporting expansion. 

“We have a concern that council’s not aware of the squeeze on community groups to access space,” he says. 

“There’s money set aside for future sporting and recreational development and we don’t want to see that used elsewhere. 

“We know Wanaka’s the next cab off the rank for new facilities but let’s not lose sight of what’s required over here. Money shouldn’t be frittered off into other areas – hold onto it.” 

Ferguson’s worried “wrong decisions will be made” and urges sports users to make submissions to QLDC before May 16. 

“Where are we going with the Events Centre? We’ve got big conferences, we’ve got the Rugby World Cup, the Oval has limited use,” he says. 

“It’s been made pretty clear there’s a need for more green areas. We need to make sure we’re not taking one step forward and two steps back because of the financial economy of council.”