HB sports codes miss out on funding

Lawrence Gullery
Two regional sports initiatives suffered a setback yesterday when the Hastings District Council decided to leave them out of their budget for the draft long-term council community plan.
Hawke's Bay Softball's plans for an Akina Park revamp and another plan to establish a Bay velodrome got a council thumbs-down - but leaders of the projects will continue seeking support for their plans.
Hawke's Bay Softball is remaining positive after its bid for help to start a $320,000 Akina Park upgrade was turned down by three out of four territorial authorities.
The regional softball body was to pitch its upgrade plans to the Hawke's Bay Regional Council this afternoon - and it hoped that council could influence the others to support the project.
The Hastings District Council was the latest local-body group to turn down softball's submissions.
The softball body had approached Hastings for $70,000, Napier for $70,000, and Central Hawke's Bay for $10,000 and today was to ask the regional council for $70,000 to go towards funding the park upgrade.
After declining the submission yesterday, the Hastings District Council's community services made a commitment to begin working with Softball Hawke's Bay to see how it could advance or explore funding options to help upgrade Akina Park.
Softball Hawke's Bay chairman David Chapman said he was disappointed the submission had been declined.
"But we're still optimistic the plan would still go ahead, even though we've had a setback from the local councils," he said.
Mr Chapman said today's submission to the regional council would focus on leadership in the community - in a bid for the regional council to take a leadership role in pursuing the Akina Park upgrade.

He welcomed the Hastings District Council's commitment to help source funding but said Akina Park was its responsibility, anyway.
"Just from the talks we've had with (Hastings district Mayor) Lawrence Yule and council staff, they know they have to do something for the park."
Hawke's Bay Velodrome Incorporated chairman Ivan Aplin said he believed the door had not yet closed on plans to build the Bay's first regional indoor cycling complex.
"Naturally, we are disappointed ... but we appreciate the limit of the ratepayers," he said.
Hastings fell behind when it came to regional sports facilities.
"Napier's got Park Island, McLean Park and Pettigrew-Green Area. Hastings needs to look at where they wish to pitch its sports facilities."
Mr Aplin said there needed to be a regional approach to the way sports projects were looked after and funded.
Mr Yule was to make a submission to the regional council today seeking to do just that. On behalf of other mayors in the region, he was to ask the council for support to establish a regional sports trust or working group, to help fund or seek funding for regional sports initiatives.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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