By providing more space for sports in Napier, a proposed multi-use facility will benefit "people of all ages across the region".

A $500,000 business case is being conducted into the facility, with its findings to be presented to the new Napier City Council shortly.

With a new design bringing the promise to provide much-needed court space, economic benefits, and the potential for Hawke's Bay to become a regional cycling hub, the proposed facility is a far cry from what was originally proposed.

Controversy surrounded early plans for a velodrome, with concerns the facility would cater only to athletes of a particular sporting code - concerns Napier Mayor Bill Dalton acknowledges was raised by not getting the right message across to residents.


While the new proposed facility would house a velodrome track, it would also go "a long way toward" helping the shortage of indoor court space in the region, and provide an indoor space for a range of other uses.

Council chief executive Wayne Jack said the space would be made "truly multi-use" by elevating the velodrome track above court space, which could host basketball, netball, futsal and volleyball games.

It would address the doubling of demand for additional court space and would provide room for existing sporting codes to grow - with numbers playing futsal increasing 34 per cent each year, and basketball growing by 200 per cent in five years.

Below spectator seating of between 500 and 750, the court space could transform to hold national and international size courts for different codes.

Mr Dalton believed residents would support the facility, given a better understanding of what it would encompass.

"I believe they will when people start to understand that this is a project that would provide a magnificent indoor facility that would incorporate a velodrome, but it's a magnificent indoor facility for multi-use, and multi-sports," he said.

Looking at Cambridge's Avantidrome as inspiration, Mr Jack said that as well as cycling, and indoor sports, the facility would provide opportunities for all age groups and physical abilities.

Programmes delivered in partnership with schools, the Hawke's Bay District Health Board, and iwi would ensure the facility was "a truly holistic approach to sport and recreation activities".

There were also identified schools, community groups and sporting codes - from rowing to rugby - who felt they could utilise the 250m-long wooden cycling track.

This is highlighted in a proposed usage schedule compiled by the council, which reveals how groups could use and share the space - from elderly sport programmes on Monday morning, coaching clinics on Tuesday, to a regional futsal tournament on Saturday afternoon.

Time usage for cycling on the track would also vary from disabled, community and club cycling.

Modelled on the velodrome in Derby, England, raising the tier two track would remove issues which arose when the two were on the same level and would provide other opportunities for the space.

Although a wooden framing underneath the track could allow for much-needed storage, the council had budgeted to instead use concrete, to allow the space to be used for commercial activities, such as a gym.

As the council's engagement with iwi had shown "hubbing" was a popular suggestion, other activities such as a cafe, retail, or physiotherapist area had been touted. That engagement had been part of the council's $500,000 detailed business case.

Although the process had taken a long time, Giblin Group director Jenni Giblin said they had been able to do it properly.

By engaging with a wide range of stakeholders - including iwi, national and local sport groups, and sporting codes - they were able to not only gauge support for the project, but receive feedback on what groups hoped the space would include, and how they would use it.

Most stakeholders wanted assurance a variety of programmes would be delivered, "tailored to age groups, abilities and offered over seven days", as they were looking for more opportunities to increase their physical participation and improve health outcomes.

"I think we've now gotten to an end point where we've designed a facility that is going to meet the needs of the community," she said.

As well as addressing immediate needs, the council promise the proposed facility would provide a range of long-term benefits for the region.

The venue could attract new events to the region - which it currently misses out on due to lack of space - from sporting tournaments, to being a possible venue for concerts, event shows, or conferences. This range of uses meant the facility could generate $3.6 million of economic benefit annually.

The health of Hawke's Bay's residents would also benefit - while increasing the participation in recreation and sport would improve residents' long-term health, participation rates within some sports have remained static due to their inability to grow.

With the addition of a velodrome, Mr Jack said Cycling New Zealand had also indicated to council that Hawke's Bay would become a regional cycling hub.

As well as creating an environment for youth to develop, and receive coaching and mentoring, the region would receive resources from the organisation. With good road, and mountain biking facilities, a velodrome was all that was needed for Hawke's Bay to fit the criteria.

Concern about the project has been raised because a community health and sports centre, spearheaded by Sir Graeme Avery, is also being developed at the Regional Sports Park in Hastings.

There are similarities between the two, but the council maintain the two facilities would complement each other, and because they cater to different needs there would be no duplication.

Mr Jack said integration with what Sir Graeme was trying to do at the sports park was key.

"These facilities are complementary in that regard."

Ms Giblin echoed this, saying the projects were not in competition.

"Rather we see these projects are complementary facilities which will provide an integrated sports and recreation offering for the Hawke's Bay region."

The proposed facility was also not in competition with much-needed aquatic facilities - another concern raised by the public.

Mr Dalton stressed it was not an "either or situation".

Aquatic facilities were included in the council's long-term plan which had been brought forward because the Greendale Pool at Taradale School would be closing this year.

"We are working extremely hard on a swimming pool project alongside this multi-use facility project and we are looking at all options for a pool," he said.

"It's not a multi-use facility or a swimming pool; we're looking at both projects. The projects are running alongside each other and we acknowledge that a swimming pool is an absolute priority."

He believed the initial stages of construction of a new facility could begin late next year.