Cricket: Reprieve after tarmac parked

By Peter White

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GRASSROOTS VICTORY: Tauranga City Councillor Steve Morris standing on the proposed carpark site at Blake Park.PHOTO/JOHN BORREN 010514JB10BOP
GRASSROOTS VICTORY: Tauranga City Councillor Steve Morris standing on the proposed carpark site at Blake Park.PHOTO/JOHN BORREN 010514JB10BOP

Grassroots cricket has been given a reprieve at Blake Park after a decision by Tauranga City Council to cancel plans to turn the main club ground into a carpark.

Councillor Steve Morris says he and a number of his colleagues raised concerns about putting tarmac down on the Mount Maunganui cricket club's cricket ground.

"We don't need to be putting that sort of level of capital expenditure at this stage for carparking when we have other fiscal constraints," Morris said.

"The objection myself and others raised to staff was 'bang for buck'. Sure we want to have a presentable carpark there if there are any important games in the future but it can't be a priority at the moment.

"The (Mount Maunganui) cricket club has the lease on the (clubrooms) to 2019.

"What is the point of having the building on the side of a car park instead of the cricket pitch there? It just doesn't make sense at this stage."

Morris added that a partial construction of a carpark will be built before the end of this year but in an area adjacent to the current cricket ground next to the Bay Oval.

"It is not on the playing field surface," he said.

"It gives provision for some more carparks but it will not be basically plastering all over the cricket pitch.

"On two fronts it is common sense. From the point of view of letting the cricket club do business as usual and providing some extra parks, and also not going crazy with the ratepayers cheque book."

Mount Maunganui Cricket Club president Jason Dovey says the cricket community is obviously very pleased with the decision.

"The future of any senior club is juniors and we need that area for our junior cricket," Dovey said.

"We get 80 kids down there on a Friday night. Once you take a green space away you are never going to get it back, so we are very, very happy."

But Dovey says the club's concern as to what future they will have once the lease on their clubrooms expires still remains.

"The council will not give us a timeframe as to how long," he said. "So this is a short term solution to the problem. We will get the use out of it for another four years but the club's concern is do we keep spending $10,000 to $12,000 of our money on the facility for six months use per year till then, or could we be investing in a new pavilion up the top (of Blake Park) or joining another facility that is already on the park?

"That is the limbo we are in."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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