Progress made at new pavillion

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The new pavilion next to the artificial turf at Centennial Park, which will boast changing facilities, a viewing area and toilets, is taking shape with the concrete flooring set to be poured today.

North Otago Recreational Turf Trust committee member Shaun Cunningham said the new facilities would attract national hockey events to Oamaru, after the North Otago association was informed by Hockey New Zealand in 2012 that current facilities did not meet the specified requirements.

“We can get better tournaments. Hockey New Zealand do not look at us as having proper facilities at the moment,” Cunningham said.

Hosting national tournaments would also bring an economic boost to the local community, he said.

“Doing our research, we know that to send teams away it costs $10,000, so if we can get 16 teams here, the community benefits $160,000 over the week. Every time there’s a tournament here, we don’t get a lot out of that. What we get is turf fees, but the community benifits ” he said.

The New Zealand Lotteries Commission provided $251,000 for the building’s construction, while the North Otago Hockey Association and North Otago Recreational Turf Trust contributed $25,000 and $50,000 respectively.

The toilets will also be available to other codes using sports facilities close by, which Cunningham believes will offer a safer environment for children, who have to cross the road to use the toilets at present.

“We’re here for the community and I think by putting this facility here, we’re enhancing the safety for all children that use all these park areas. We’re enhancing the safety for all those kids. That’s one of our main goals and that’s what the Lottery has looked at in our application,” said Cunningham.

“For 14 years, ladies changing on the sideline waiting to have a game of hockey is not ideal. It gives a bit of decorum back and decency back.”

Cunningham praised the local community for the support the project was receiving and insisted all were welcome to lend a hand where they could.

“We’ve got to acknowledge the support we’re getting from the community for this project, We’ve got really good main sponsors,” he said.

“Kiwi Concrete especially, they’re supplying concrete at a very good rate. Placemakers are hitting up all their suppliers and giving us good discounts because it is a community project. Even William from the concrete pumping, he’s doing all his services for nothing. Jenkins transport are transporting all of our goods for nothing. Top Ten Holiday Park, they came in and laid the blocks for us all for free, just for signage, so it’s a real community project.

“If anyone else wants to come out and support us, whether it be hands-on help . . . we’re not looking for financial help, we’re not looking for handouts. We’re offering advertising as a way of giving back to the community. We’re not just here for handouts and that’s one of the things we need to emphasise.”

By JAMES FORD

PHOTO: JAMES FORD – North Otago Recreational Turf Trust committee member Shaun Cunningham holding plans for the new pavilion at Centennial Park yesterday.