An independent Far North District Council-commissioned report into Kaitāia's sporting facilities has urged those who provide the facilities to work together to provide a complementary mix of indoor, outdoor and aquatic amenities.
The Kaitāia Sport Infrastructure Plan investigated the town's sport and recreation facilities to identify unmet recreational needs, and recommend how best to meet future demands.
It said existing facilities, such as the indoor basketball, netball and tennis courts at Kaitāia College, the pool and gymnasium at Te Rangi Āniwaniwa and the facilities at Moerua Park (including the proposed Te Hiku Sports Hub), could and should be optimised through a co-ordinated approach to their use/occupancy.
Sport and recreation planning consultants Global Leisure Group wrote the report after surveying Te Hiku sport and recreation clubs, schools and health organisations to identify challenges facing the sport and recreation sector.
Survey respondents said the greatest unmet need was an indoor swimming pool in the Kaitāia urban area. The indoor pool, Te Puna Wai, at Te Rangi Āniwaniwa, adjacent to the airport, was difficult to access due to its distance from Kaitāia and lack of availability during school hours, both for other schools and individuals.
The report said the pool had major shortcomings in its heating and filtration plant, and poor ventilation, that would require significant investment to remedy.
The plan supported the construction of the pool complex proposed for Te Hiku Sports Hub, but recommended further discussion on types and sizes before the detailed design process began. The design, it said, should aim to retain key learn-to-swim, hydrotherapy, recreation, exercise and competition training pools that were appropriate for the local population.
The report suggested that Sport Northland play a "connector" role to co-ordinate Kaitāia College, Te Rangi Āniwaniwa, Kaitāia Intermediate School and Te Hiku Sports Hub to facilitate the effective use of school and community facilities, particularly covered courts at the college and outdoor artificial surfaces at the intermediate school.
It also recommended that the governance and management of the Te Hiku Sports Hub be reviewed to better spread responsibilities and attract people with the appropriate skill sets to develop and "operationalise" the community sports hub concept.
Finally, it said a detailed assessment of sports field capacity and demand should be completed before any further investment was made in sports field drainage and flood lighting in the Kaitāia area.
The report (which can be downloaded from www.fndc.govt.nz) will be used to complete funding applications to external bodies to meet the needs of Kaitāia and the Te Hiku Ward.