Mixed but muted reactions have met a proposal for a sport and recreation precinct in Rotorua's southwest.

On Thursday evening the Rotorua Lakes Council announced the proposal of a sport and recreation precinct in Westbrook, which a council press release said would create a "number of other opportunities" for the community.

Those opportunities were, according to the council, the redevelopment of the stadium, a venue for local, national and international events and potential land for a residential housing development.

It would incorporate the Springfield Golf Course, Rotorua International Stadium, Westbrook Reserve and netball courts, Ray Boord Park and Smallbone Park.


It's the next chapter in an ongoing saga - in February 2019 a proposed multimillion-dollar multisport facility for Smallbone Park was reportedly a step closer after a feasibility study was completed.

At the time, the study was not provided to the Rotorua Daily Post due to "sensitive information and data".

In February 2016 a new sports village was announced for the area.

The proposal would see Springfield Golf Club potentially amalgamated with one of Rotorua's two other 18-hole golf courses.

Springfield Golf Club president Paul Fox said the club had little comment to make at this stage and would be "working through a process about how it's going to affect us, and where it leaves us".

He said the club was 70 years old and had its own identity, and no clubs would relish the idea of amalgamating with another.

Rotorua Cricket Association board chairman Paul Wyllie said he was "very much behind the idea of a centralised sports hub", but wasn't 100 per cent sure whether the council's plan would be supported by the group.

That would be decided through consultation with his group's stakeholders and would be club-led.

Springfield Golf Course. Photo / File
Springfield Golf Course. Photo / File

Many of those clubs already used a number of the spaces proposed by the council, and the association was mindful of ensuring there were enough ovals for the current level of play as well as factoring in future growth.

Evolve spokesman Andrew Burgess said sport and recreation activities were a positive but it was critical all developments "directly addressed" current issues facing the people of Rotorua.

There were "heaps of pressing issues" in Rotorua, such as homelessness and housing, safety, social inclusion and climate change.

"[The council] are not really communicating how this development is contributing to these things.

Rotorua Lakes Council sport, recreation and environment manager Rob Pitkethley. Photo / File
Rotorua Lakes Council sport, recreation and environment manager Rob Pitkethley. Photo / File

"I'm hoping [the proposal is] just something they've done in five minutes to get the ball rolling.

"There's a lot of positives in the idea."


In early January, the Rotorua Daily Post asked the council about plans to develop the golf course into sports fields.

In response, sport, recreation and environment manager Rob Pitkethley said the council was "aware that there are rumours about what is planned".

He said the council had "no current plans for a working group" and no decisions had been made to do with reports the council had undertaken regarding Rotorua's sport and recreation facilities.

"Any decisions on the future direction for this area would need to be worked through and approved by elected members, and be followed by consultation with sports groups and the wider public."