Sharing stories. . . Councillors and community representatives visited the new Rolleston Sports Centre, in Selwyn, for ideas of what a Waitaki sports stadium could look like. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/GARY KIRCHER

Visiting two Canterbury sports stadiums has helped inspire more ideas for a future Oamaru development, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher says.

Last week, a group of community representatives, Waitaki District Council staff and councillors visited the EA Network Centre, in Ashburton, and a new stadium in Rolleston to gain insight into the process of building both stadiums.

Over the past few months, the council has held workshops and meetings regarding the future of a Waitaki sports stadium, and a proposal has been included in the draft long term plan.

Mr Kircher said the stadium tours and discussions with Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton and staff were invaluable.

“I think we we learnt a lot from visiting both of them. It’s getting a better understanding to get the best possible value out of a project like that,” Mr Kircher said.

“It was really good to talk through with people who have gone through the process, or who are going through the process, and get the benefit of their wisdom.”

He praised both venues as “very good sport centres” with different layouts, from four to eight courts.

It was important the council learnt from others’ mistakes and successes when creating a business case for a Waitaki stadium.

“It’s about making sure we’ve got it large enough, and with plenty of storage – that’s been a very common comment from around the place.

“There’s some features and ideas around better procurement options to make sure we get more value. If we decide to go ahead with it, it’s certainly given us some very good grounding on what we should be looking to build into a centre for Waitaki.”

The proposal in the long term plan for an Oamaru stadium included six multi-use courts, conference facilities, toilets, changing areas, a catering kitchen, cafe, gymnasium and spectator areas.

The project was budgeted at $24 million, and there were three options for the council’s contribution ranging from $10 million to $14 million.

“I’m hopeful that we can actually get more than that, and that council’s contribution can be a bit less, but that remains to be seen.

“The main thing is I would rather go out with a higher number and then see where we get to. If we do manage to get more in than budgeted in that figure, then it becomes a lower cost for the community overall.”

Planning work, and a business case, was under way, and while it was not scheduled for a few years, it was important to have “some of that under out belt already”.

“It’s only going to go ahead if we can get a significant amount of external funding, and that’s something we’re very focused on. We need to make sure we’ve got a really good project that meets the needs of today, and into the future of the district.”

There had already been some incredibly generous offers of support from the community, he said.

A possible site was yet to be determined, and discussions were kept broad.

He encouraged the community to have their say on the proposal when the long term plan went out for consultation later this month.

“We really want to hear from people on their thoughts. It’s just so important to have good facilities and amenities for a district to make it an attractive place to come to, and this is part of allowing for that into the future.”

Desired specifications for an Oamaru sports stadium:

  • Six courts for multiple uses, including hosting regional and national fixtures
  • Conference facilities to complement existing operations
  • Toilets and changing areas
  • Creche
  • Fully air conditioned
  • 150 car parks
  • Catering kitchen
  • Cafe and bar facilities
  • Gymnasium
  • Sufficient storage space
  • Provision for spectators