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Looking into it: A survey's planned for the Queenstown Rec Ground to determine if the ground level's been altered in the southwestern corner of the field

By TRACEY ROXBURGH

Queenstown’s sport and rec boss hopes a survey of the Rec Ground will happen in the next couple of weeks to determine if the ground level at the western end’s been altered by a
capital works project.

Last week Mountain Scene reported part of the CBD sportsfield, and home to the Wakatipu Rugby Club, resembled a paddling pool after a couple of days of heavy rain caused surface
flooding in the southwestern corner of the paddock.

That area abuts the work site for the council’s new wastewater pumping system.

Club stalwart Damien O’Connell told Scene last week he knew as soon as the ground was handed back before this year’s Central Otago Premiers season started the ground level
wasn’t right, and wants contractors to come back and fix it.

City Hall councillor Craig ‘Ferg’ Ferguson was also ‘‘disappointed’’ the ground appeared to have been returned to users in a worse state than it was before the capital project started.

In a statement, a City Hall spokeswoman tells Scene the Rec Ground’s actually designed as a ‘‘stormwater detention basin’’ which drains to Horne Creek — that runs along the eastern
end of the pitch — and the northern end of the Rec Ground is lower than the bottom of Horne Creek.

‘‘[Last Tuesday] 35mm of rain fell between 7am and 1pm.

‘‘As a result, Horne Creek flooded and stopped the Rec Ground draining.’’

‘It’s a jigsaw’: Queenstown’s sport and rec boss Simon Battrick

But council’s sport and rec manager Simon Battrick says he’d be ‘‘a little bit worried’’ if Horne Creek flooded to the point where water was pooling in the opposite direction.

‘‘One thing we will be looking at doing is talking to our infrastructure colleagues, who are managing the wastewater project, and getting them to do a survey of the ground to determine the levels … in the next couple of weeks.

‘‘That way we’ll know one way or the other what the story is, because that way it just gives the data to say, ‘yep, it is’, or ‘it’s not’.

‘‘And if it is pooling, or dipping down in that corner, then that’s something the wastewater project needs to pick up and sort out for us.’’

If it’s not, Battrick says users like the rugby club will have to bide their time till the council can either get funding for a ‘‘full upgrade’’ to the field, or have a ‘‘full conversation’’ about where the second stage of the arterial bypass route — construction of which is still at least three years away — will go.

‘‘It is very much a jigsaw puzzle and, look, we’re trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got at the moment.’’

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz