Community collaboration is being praised as the driving force for Ōmokoroa's new $1.6 million sports pavilion turning from a dream into a reality.
The purpose-built two-storey 1050sq m facility was officially opened this morningby Western Bay of Plenty mayor Garry Webber and Omokoroa Sports and Recreation Society chairman Richard Gerrish at the Western Avenue Recreation Reserve.
The pavilion will be home base for the Omokoroa Sport and Recreation Society and it is also the new temporary location for Western Bay of Plenty District Council's Omokoroa Library and Service Centre.
Gerrish said the pavilion began as a dream but had become a reality through the tremendous community support and the faith of external funders, the council and the Omokoroa Community Board – and the driving force of the society's executive team.
"The executive team of myself, treasurer Dennis Cresswell, secretary Andrea Willoughby and Vicki Knell combined strong professional expertise and together we managed the design, funding applications and construction phase of the pavilion," he said.
The feasibility study started in 2016 with local architect Stufken & Chambers Architects preparing the concept designs and Rider Levett Bucknall Quantity Surveyors preparing the construction budgets.
"These deliverables were key to the society securing the much-needed funding. After making many applications, we secured all the necessary funding by mid-2019," Gerrish said.
Mayor Garry Webber said the pavilion was a fantastic asset for the Ōmokoroa community.
Advocating for improved facilities on Western Avenue Reserve was among his early goals when he was elected on to the Ōmokoroa Community Board in 2009.
"This pavilion has real significance for me. When I was elected on to the board with Glenn Whittaker, Graeme Taylor and Robert Hicks, this was one of our aspirational projects.
"Ōmokoroa has grown even more in population and diversity of residents since then and it is with real pride that we as council have seen this current pavilion leadership group take this vision and convert it into reality."
Webber thanked the Omokoroa Sport and Recreation Society members for being so accommodating in working alongside the council to develop the purpose-built facilities in the form of a sports pavilion, and a library and service centre for the council.
"It made perfect sense to council to take the opportunity to build our facility alongside the new pavilion. Once again this is a project achieved through the collaborative relationships that council believes are so essential for progress in our communities."
He also praised the Ōmokoroa community for supporting the Sport and Recreation Society's fundraising effort towards the pavilion's $1.6m cost.
The pavilion includes changing rooms, a referee's space, a social space, a large activity space and kitchen.
The adjacent new library and service centre has been funded through the Ōmokoroa Community Board's town centre budget and council's Replacement Reserve Fund.
The council will keep the old pavilion and is considering a shortlist of sites for its relocation.
In addition to pavilion funds raised by the Society, there were grants from TECT, Lotteries, NZCT, Bay Trust and the Wright Family, $146,000 from the community, $100,000 from the Ōmokoroa Community Board and council funding for accessible toilets.