New hub for Hawke's Bay Rugby

By Victoria White

1 comment
A deed of agreement was signed yesterday by HBRU board chairman Brendan Mahoney (left), CE Mike Bishop, Napier City Council CE Wayne Jack, and Napier Mayor Bill Dalton. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
A deed of agreement was signed yesterday by HBRU board chairman Brendan Mahoney (left), CE Mike Bishop, Napier City Council CE Wayne Jack, and Napier Mayor Bill Dalton. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A high-performance sporting centre, shared by the Magpies and the community, is on the cards for Napier.

Yesterday the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union (HBRU) and Napier City Council signed a deed of agreement for the transfer of land at McLean Park, currently owned by HBRU, for land at the proposed Northern Sports Hub at Park Island.

"It's an exciting day, a very exciting day " HBRU chief executive Mike Bishop said yesterday.

"Its really exciting to be part of that and get this process to the point where we're signing off on it."

Planning began on the Park Islands development in 2011, for three 'sports hubs' which would allow more sharing of facilities and services by outdoor sports codes.

The union will be transferring 1600sqm of land at McLean Park for 8000sqm of land at the new Northern Sports Hub, which would have "significant council-led development around it in terms of not only rugby but all sports", he said.

"So we'll be kind of at the centre of that with what we're going to design and build for the people of Hawkes Bay rugby."

The first in a several phase process will see the construction of the rugby union's administration office, and training centre.

This would be a high-performance centre, and community facility, he said.

"It'll be able to be used by amateur rugby as well as other sports in the region," Mr Bishop said.

They were currently partnered with other sporting codes to allow them to use their facilities, "and we don't see that changing in the future - we want to be a good corporate citizen in terms of the sporting community."

As well as members of the community, it will be the stomping ground of the Magpies.

Napier mayor Bill Dalton said taking this step was "absolutely fantastic".

"The home of Hawke's Bay Rugby has been in Napier for as long as I can remember," Mr Dalton said.

Park Island was effectively the home of community rugby, council chief executive Wayne Jack said.

"So to have their high-performance centre there will be absolutely fantastic, not only for the development of their players in the Magpies team but for the development of up-and-coming kids through rugby."

Mr Jack said the HBRU development fit in nicely with council plans for the extension of Park Island.

With significant plans in place for its expansion - including the installation of artificial pitches and enhancing the sporting fields - Mr Jack said one of the premier sporting sites in Napier would become "more of an enhanced feature for the community".

The transfer had been a "win-win for everyone involved", Mr Dalton said, as having the land at McLean Park would open up options for council.

Although McLean Park was a wonderful rugby facility, he said the council wanted to provide world-class facilities for cricket.

The council has secured five international cricket matches to be held there over the next two summers

At Park Island, Mr Bishop said progress on the development would begin as soon as possible.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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