The success of a newly established Bay of Plenty community hall is likely to continue with plans of a new squash facility in the mix.
Oropi Settlers Inc chairman Richard Somerville and Oliver Broad presented their plans for a three-court squash facility for the community to the Western Bay of Plenty District Council on Thursday.
The squash courts, with removable walls, would be added to the Oropi Memorial Hall and Community Centre at a cost of $1.1 million, raised by the community.
The Oropi hall was built in 1953 and in 2016 was redeveloped into a modern community centre. Since then, the hall has more than 1500 people using it each month - a 40 per cent increase compared to before the upgrade.
Somerville told elected members the squash courts were part of the original redevelopment plans but did not eventuate. However, there was strong interest from the community, with about 100 people keen to play and a squash community had formed.
Broad said redeveloped hall and community centre had already delivered "incredible success".
"It's very well used. It's also very important in the context of the dynamic change in our district with population growth. [We have a] thriving community and the school is also expanding."
The hall currently hosts after-school care, bowls, badminton, yoga, seminars, community happy hours, church groups, weddings, birthdays and funerals.
Broad said the hall had pride in place in Oropi and was essential "but it is unfinished".
"We shouldn't think of it as a squash facility as such but a multi-purpose recreational facility," Broad said.
A feasibility study into the proposal said the squash facilities would have a "high level of success". The proposal was also well received by Sport Bay of Plenty, which recognised the district's population growth and increased demand for sporting facilities, elected members were told.
Mayor Garry Webber said the redevelopment of the hall and community centre and its subsequent success was "one of the highlights of this triennium".
"The community needs to congratulate itself. It really is a neat asset for the district."
Councillor Mark Dean, who is deputy chairman of Oropi Settlers Inc, said the hall and its proposed squash facilities would serve people from Taumata, Pyes Pa, The Lakes, Greerton, Poike, Welcome Bay and Ōhauiti.
"People will come from town up there to play. It's only 10 minutes from Greerton."
Dean said the group had already raised $1.6m for the redevelopment of the hall. It planned to also fundraise for the squash courts and was keeping the council abreast of their efforts as the council-owned the land the hall was on.