By MATTHEW MCKEW
A new dawn for hockey’s on its way with outline plans for an artificial pitch at the Queenstown Events Centre.
Hockey players in the Wakatipu currently travel to Cromwell to play matches and make do with two tennis courts by Remarkables Primary School for training.
But City Hall’s made basic plans for a new multi-sports pitch at the Events Centre public — the primary goal is offering hockey.
Wakatipu Hockey Club president Karyn Battrick says the club’s very excited and the pitch ‘‘has been a long time coming’’.
They submitted to council several years ago, she says, explaining how hard it is for parents to take their kids to Cromwell for matches.
Hockey facilities across Central Otago are limited — Cromwell’s got the only full-sized quality turf, and Wanaka’s got a two-thirds sized pitch.
Battrick says the Queenstown one’s unlikely to be a good enough standard for top-level high school and adult hockey, but it’s sorely-needed for primary school, lower-level high school and social adult leagues.
The club had wanted a water-based turf, but because it’ll be used for other sports to help recoup the costs, they’ve had to compromise and she says the club understands the trade-off.
‘‘It’s a catch-22 between covering costs and meeting multiple sports needs.’’
At the moment the club’s got about 130 members, aged five and up, but attrick thinks that’ll grow once the facility’s open, hopefully mid-2021, which will support a proposed Wakatipu league.
Football will be the other big user of the pitch until the council builds a second artificial turf with longer grass.
Queenstown Rovers senior men’s coach Jamie Whitmarsh’s been vocal this year about cancelled training sessions because of heavy rain and flooded fields.
Many of Rovers’ rivals train on multi-sport artificial surfaces already and aren’t penalised by bouts of rain.
But City Hall media man Jack Barlow says the second pitch is ‘‘aspirational’’ right now.