On Friday night I attended the launch of a plan for a $10 million development at the Regional Sports Park.

The proposal was first conceived by Sport Hawke's Bay talent development manager Marcus Agnew, and is now being driven by Sir Graeme Avery, the Sileni Estate Winery owner who was behind the AUT Millennium Institute of Sport in Auckland.

Sir Graeme, who believes the regions lack the facilities to develop sports talent and boost health and well-being in the community, will chair Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust. This has been established to build, own and operate the initial stage facility which will run on the mantra "Be the best you can be".

It certainly sounds impressive - a centre with an indoor synthetic surface with six-lane sprint track and pole vault dome, a high-performance strength and conditioning gym for sports and wellness development, and an indoor sports hall. Patrons could use a gym and sports medicine centre and there would be an on-site cafe.


Friday night's launch was well attended and it was good to see Sir Graeme's vision of what could become AUT Millennium Hawke's Bay. He certainly is passionate about it and obviously has the track record for getting things done. It is also pleasing that all our local councils seem to approve of it.

However, the best thing about this venture is that while there could be some council money going in to it, it is not being driven by one of our local councils. This is key because it means that the liability does not rest with Bay ratepayers.

However, if it succeeds and there is no reason to believe it won't, then it will be something for the whole community.