$20,000 grant recommended

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Confirmation of a $20,000 grant to the North Otago Recreational Turf Trust (NORTT) to complete the construction of a hockey pavilion at Centennial Park is one step closer.

At its meeting yesterday, the Waitaki District Council’s Community Service Committee recommended the council allocate the grant, which would come from the council’s RMA fund and not from ratepayers.

In 2012, New Zealand Hockey told the North Otago Hockey Association its facilities did not meet required standards and a new building was needed to attract national hockey events to Oamaru.

A $251,000 grant was obtained from the New Zealand Lotteries Commission to construct the pavilion, as well as $25,000 from the North Otago Hockey Association and $50,000 from the NORTT.
However, an increase in costs resulted in a funding shortfall.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the NORTT had done a lot of work to obtain outside funds, and that it was “quite appropriate” the council stepped in.

“It’s a great extra facility and it will add an extra something to the hockey turf that’s not been there before.”

Councillor Melanie Tavendale praised the NORTT for its fundraising efforts, and said she would also like to see the completion of the pavilion supported, while Cr Peter Garvan said the organisation had done “amazingly well” to raise funds.

“I fully support this,” he said.

North Otago Recreational Turf Trust chairman Ray Simpson said the grant would help greatly in finishing the pavilion.

“We’ve basically been halted for the last month because of guaranteed funding to finish the last wee bit. It’s just the finishing touches. The bulk of the building’s done and the things that don’t get finished now will never get finished,” he said.

“You could open it prematurely but it won’t be finished. We’ve had in excess of $30,000 worth of contributions from local businesses and work in-kind discounted products and we have had in excess of 400 hours of voluntary labour on top of that. I think on a whole we’ve done amazingly well, it’s just some increases in costs when we priced it and unexpected costs. It all adds up.”

The pavilion, which features changing rooms, a viewing area and a kitchen, also has toilets which will be able to be used by other users, while the pavilion itself will be available for bookings.

The approved recommendation was favoured by the committee as it supports sport at a local level.

By Daniel Birchfield and James Ford

PHOTO: JAMES FORD – North Otago Recreational Turf Trust chairman Ray Simpson.