Rotorua Lakes Council is likely to bring forward an upgrade inner city skating facilities.

Skaters felt let down by a council staff recommendation to delay a $2 million skatepark upgrade for four to five years in the Long Term Plan.

However, after the Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee's Long Term Plan deliberations yesterday members voted to bring forward the funding to next year, to encourage philanthropic contributions, and reduce the council contribution to $750,000.

Treston Stokes-Ngatokorua, one of many Rotorua skaters wanting an upgrade. Photo/File
Treston Stokes-Ngatokorua, one of many Rotorua skaters wanting an upgrade. Photo/File

"I am cautiously ecstatic that members of the Rotorua Lakes Council Strategy Policy and Finance committee have seen sense and matched the desires of the wider community," skating advocate Ryan Gray said.


"I am also happy to hear that the cost to ratepayers has been cut by more than half."

A fellow member of the group, Teddy Stokes, said the new timeline was much more acceptable.

"I feel like it has been a subject that has been avoided and underestimated for a while but now I feel like we have a successful future coming along with it... It has been a long road but I know it will be worth it in the end."

Gray and Stokes had already helped organise a fundraiser via Facebook to take place at Hennessey's bar tonight.

All proceeds will go towards the skatepark upgrade.

During the meeting, sport and recreation portfolio lead Charles Sturt said bringing the project forward "would be a huge boost to our young people, who have put so much time and effort in".

"Already we have been approached by several [potential financial donors] wanting to come to the party."

Councillor Karen Hunt asked for clarification about whether the upgraded park would be in Kuirau Park or at the current site on the corner of Ranolf St and Amohau St.


Sport, recreation and environment manager Rob Pitkethley said he was "pretty confident" geotech information would confirm the Kuirau Park site.

He said it would "give us a much better picture about the area slightly to the west up towards Ranolf St, which was sort of the intention for where that facility [a skatepark] could go".

Rotorua Lakes Community Board chairman Phil Thomass said he was supportive of the development and sought reassurance that something would not only be budgeted for, but built next year.

"Being in my 60s, a year here or there is nothing, but when you're 10 or 14, a year or two is a hell of a long time, and I think we have been promising this community something for a long time and we really need to get onto it."

Councillor Trevor Maxwell commended Sturt and Councillor Raj Kumar for their advocacy on behalf of the skating community.

"Isn't it funny, over many years now I thought it was going to be a passing phase of youth, that skating would come and go. Now an Olympic sport is on the horizon."

The only councillor who voted against the skatepark change was Peter Bentley.

"I think that this council has got to sit down and regard the message it's sending out to ratepayers that are on a fixed income ... It is a project I feel that is a want, not a need."

Meanwhile the committee approved recommendations to include the aquatic centre development, museum restoration, rural waste management, a development contribution policy and a Lakefront redevelopment in the Long Term Plan, as well as development of Whakarewarewa Forest, Kuirau Park, the creation of a new Council Controlled Organisation and discussion around pensioner housing.

The committee moved to include the Tarawera Sewerage Scheme in the plan which would cost $19,000 per household and have a capital cost of $17.8 million.

It agreed with staff recommendations to reduce the Uniform Annual General Charge from $570 to $500 and raise the rural residential differential rate.

The committee's recommendations will now go to full council on June 28 for final deliberation and adoption.