I was surprised and dismayed to learn that there is a proposal to build a regulation-sized basketball court in Korora Park, Ahipara.

I write as a regular visitor to this beautiful place, usually staying for a month, but for six weeks this year. My husband and I keep returning to Ahipara because of its natural and unspoiled beauty. One special place is Korora Park, a pocket park right by the beach, at the river's edge.

The other day surfing students did their dry land drills in the park. On Friday evening I was one of close to 200 people who sat on the grass, nibbled snacks and watched the movie Moana. Every day I see families playing, the children running around in the safe, grassy park.

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The prospect of paving a section of this specially-set-aside green space shocks me. New Zealand is a world leader in environmental protection and awareness; ecotourism is a major marketing tool and a big industry. Why risk your reputation by covering a grass field with an impervious material, with all the negatives associated with that?

There is already concern about erosion of the riverbank, and indeed, during the recent storms and king tides many trees lost their footing and tumbled into the river, taking precious riverbank with them.

The park is already losing land. An impervious surface 28 by 15-metre basketball court would exacerbate the problems facing this fragile shoreline.

There is an area designated for sports behind the North Drift Cafe in Ahipara, a 10- minute walk from the park. That is where the basketball court should be.

Please do not destroy the town's one designated green space.

With apologies to Joni Mitchell, Pave (Ahi)paradise, put up a basketball court? I hope not.

HELEN WORLEY
Blaine WA, US