Centre benefits seen

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An indoor sports facility in Oamaru is going to be a regular topic of conversation in the district for a long time. The Oamaru Mail is keen to hear what readers think. Do we need a new stadium? What facilities should it include? Where could it go? And how much should the district be prepared to pay?
An indoor sports centre in Oamaru would go beyond just benefiting sport in the district, Waitaki Community Recreation Centre manager Diane Talanoa says.
The Waitaki District Council has commissioned Sport Otago to carry out a $40,000 feasibility study that includes a business case, preliminary costings and potential locations.
If the study produces positive results, a multimillion-dollar indoor sports centre may be built in Oamaru.
The study will include an investigation into the cost of redeveloping the recreation centre in Orwell St, which was opened in 1987.
Mrs Talanoa, who has been manager of the centre for three years and involved with it for over a decade, said the facility was well utilised by the community.
“Things are going well. Some things we’ve gare new and I think we’re always looking to fill other gaps. The facilities are here and they could be used more at times if people did realise the potential that is here.
“To me, we’re here for the community. We want to be as accessible as possible for as many people as possible in the community. When you’re involved and pretty active – we have a small percentage of the population that is active a lot – it’s about how we can create that catalyst for people to get active.”
She says the social aspect of fitness is also important, and believes this would grow if a new facility was built as it would attract more people.
“I’m really quite excited about [the new centre proposal], regardless of what the outcome is. I think that if there’s a really good stocktake undertaken, it will give us a clearer view of what the need might be, what to cover and what not to duplicate.
what’s not catered for in Otago and the lower South Island and that may mean more things for Oamaru, which would be great.”
She said coupled with the Waitaki Recreation Centre, which she believed would “fit in” with any new facility, essentially all sporting areas would be covered – especially if the new facility housed sports medicine facilities.
“We are 30 years old, but still in good nick and enjoy being well supported by the community. Equally, we are excited about the potential of what could encourage and support sport and what that could bring to the area.”
The recreation centre runs fitness classes, has a weights room and hosts dozens of sports events and age group tournaments each year.
Table tennis, basketball, miniball and shooting are all held there, while Netball South runs an academy at the facility at various times throughout the year.
Other events, including Lions Club conferences, gymnastics competitions and Drive 2 Survive, a secondary school awareness campaign, are held there, and the centre also runs its own school holiday programmes for children.
Owned by the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre Trust, the facility is situated on Ministry of Education land and was developed as part of an arrangement with Waitaki Girls’ High School. The school has exclusive use of specific areas of the centre at certain times, and contributes to costs involved with the upkeep of the areas it uses.