Sports centre plans afoot

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A desperately-needed sports and community centre for Arrowtown could open beside the Jack Reid Park rugby ground in a year’s time. 

A 540 square metre building footprint and floor plan have been included in a council draft reserve management plan for the town. 

Murray Bennett, an architectural designer who chairs the Arrowtown Community and Sports Centre Inc. Trust, says this is “a massive step forward”. 

The local rugby club, whose present clubrooms are barely adequate, originally proposed a new building five years ago. 

Queenstown Lakes District Council, however, suggested the centre should be a multi-purpose facility and another dozen or so parties, including Scouts, Arrowtown School, karate and line dancing, have expressed interest in using it. 

The community and sports centre trust originally hoped to use the neighbouring council freehold site off Suffolk Street. 

The council, however, has earmarked that site for the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust, which has controversial plans to build 10 rental properties. 

Bennett says his trust’s latest proposal, for the north-west corner of Jack Reid Park, near Inverness Crescent, is smaller than earlier plans. 

“From our initial grand plan we’ve lost outdoor courts, an indoor court, a few squash courts and stuff like that. 

“Originally it was going to be $3.8 million, we’re now aiming that it’s no more than $1m – this is most affordable in the current market.” 

The single-storey centre would comprise two changing rooms, a large main room that could be divided in three and possibly public toilets. 

Being on reserve land, the building would also require Crown approval as well as a resource consent. 

Bennett hopes construction can start sometime before next winter. 

Trust members have been delegated to organise fundraising which could come partly from community trusts and also from selling naming rights. 

Costs will be defrayed by voluntary labour, donations of materials and discounted fees. Bennett, for example, will substantially reduce his design service fees. 

Just who will own and manage the centre is still to be decided, he says. 

Bennett says his trust isn’t opposed to the housing trust’s plans next door. 

“But whether the future requirements of our trust require that land, we don’t know, and that’s what we’re a bit concerned about.”