Taradale arena set for change

By Lawrence Gullery

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Pettigrew-Green Arena board chairman Craig Waterhouse hopes to achieve the right mix of community and commercial use. Photo / File
Pettigrew-Green Arena board chairman Craig Waterhouse hopes to achieve the right mix of community and commercial use. Photo / File

Finding the right balance between commercial and community use is one of the challenges facing the new board of trustees at the Pettigrew Green Arena in Taradale.

There were three new directors while previous chairman Robert Anderson remained as a trustee on the revamped board.

Well-known business consultant and softball advocate Craig Waterhouse was one of the new directors and will lead the board as its chairperson.

Shaun McPherson, managing director of Boulevard Services Hawke's Bay, a commercial cleaning business, was also a new director along with Marcus Smith, director of Big Ideas Ltd and director and chief technology officer of True North 360 Ltd. Mr Smith has experience in senior management, strategic planning and financial planning.

The departing trustees were Sport Hawke's Bay's chief executive Colin Stone, Dena Hale, a community representative, Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule, Ken Simons, Hastings district councillor Jacoby Poulain, Napier city councillor Faye White and EIT chief executive Chris Collins.

Mr Waterhouse said he had plenty of ideas for improving the arena's usage but he must first discuss these with the new board.

"I can't say to you that I would like this or that to happen because the board is a collective, they might have a different opinion," he said. "I also need to make sure the trustees and the stakeholders, EIT, Napier and Hastings councils come with us on that journey."

Balancing community and commercial use at the arena had been a problem for the facility "since day one" and is an area the board will focus on.

"There's no use, for example, having a sports programme at the arena and then being told you can't use the facility because it's been booked out for a commercial stage show.

"It was built for community use and the commercial use was there to cross subsidise the community use. The arena has a number of good tenants, it's got a gym, but it's got to have the right balance. And at the moment I don't have the answer to that."

Mr Waterhouse said the new board also needed to focus on building strong partnerships with the relevant parties.

"The long-term success will be the board's ability to maintain those relationships with the stakeholders, which are the two councils and EIT.

"We are not required to appear before the councils but we are required to report to them, via their liaison people."

Mr Waterhouse said previous boards had indicated there were problems financing the maintenance of the arena.

"The councils have put in place support for ongoing capital works to maintain the arena, which is a relief. A $10 million facility, you're not sure what impact maintenance will have, and certainly from the community there is no desire for that work to go backwards."

The new trustees will be kept busy to the end of the year with a heavy event schedule including a Silver Ferns netball test match, the National Gymsports Championships, the Common Kings concert, North Island Marching Championships and a number of sports tournaments.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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