Sports turfs score $200k from council

By Zaryd Wilson

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Angus Gordon
Angus Gordon

Rangitikei ratepayers will put more than $200,000 into two sports facilities at Marton's high schools.

Rangitikei College want to build a multi-use turf which will have free public access while Nga Tawa plan to build an international standard hockey turf.

Both projects will get $100,000 from the council although the Nga Tawa funding is dependent on council being satisfied with community access.

Rangitikei College will also get the balance of the insurance payout from the council's Centennial Park once damage from last year's flooding has been cleaned up.

But while in support of having the facilities in the district, councillor Angus Gordon wanted the council to lead a sports facility project rather than automatically giving money to the schools.

While council was "singing the praises" of multi-use facilities it would still be retaining its own single-use facilities such as netball courts and the funding had not been given the same scrutiny as other other council spending, he said.

"When it came to funding a turf we said 'here's $100,000, run off and spend it'. For the community it would be a great thing, I just like to see due process followed and I just thought we were cutting ourselves a bit short."

Marton-based councillors were of mixed option on funding the facilities. Cath Ash tried to get the amount for each project reduced to $50,000 but was voted down.

"I absolutely applaud the idea of a multi-turf at the school. I just don't support spending so much ratepayer money on these facilities," she said.

The Rangitikei College turf facility will cost $435,000.

Councillor Nigel Belsham said it was Rangitikei College helping the ratepayer fund a community facility as it would be picking up the majority of the bill.

"We've got an opportunity to support Rangitikei College and we've had good support for the proposition."

Turakina Ward councillor Soraya Peke-Mason said the public had strongly supported it which was what mattered.

"We're here to do a job and that is to give consideration to what the ratepayers have said. I support it wholeheartedly. We've done the hard yards."

Mayor Andy Watson said the proposal from the schools was a way to get two cheap facilities for the district.

"The alternative is for council to build one at a cost council can't afford. This is a way by proxy to get a world-class turf."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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