A new report to investigate sport, infrastructure and housing needs in Rotorua will be considered to determine the fate of a proposed sport and recreation precinct and Springfield golf course.
The proposed report is the latest of about 10 surrounding the $61 million Westbrook Sport and Recreation Precinct proposal, which was first floated in March 2020.
The future of the golf course, which could be destroyed to develop sports fields and housing, has drawn controversy, including a petition calling for an extension of the golf course's lease.
The leader of Saving Springfield says it's a report that says "we need to do another report" and claims, in his opinion, the council is delaying discussions until after the 2022 local election.
In a report prepared for Thursday's Rotorua Lakes Council Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee meeting, council sport, recreation and environment manager Rob Pitkethley said any decision on how Rotorua's open space was best used needed "a more thorough consideration" of sport and recreation, infrastructure and housing needs.
One method of doing so was the development of a Play, Active Recreation and Sport Plan, as well as changes to the District Plan.
"These will provide multiple opportunities for a district-wide engagement and consultation. These actions will be completed over the next one to three years."
His report stated Rotorua's sports field network was "below acceptable standards" and could not meet the demand for sports teams for training nor play and with population growth this was "predicted to get worse".
His report stated "extensive investigations" had been done on the precinct area and other options for increasing sports field supply and quality, listing nine.
There was a need for urgent housing intensification and greenfield subdivision growth, but a significant constraint was a lack of infrastructure capacity for homes, he said.
Thursday's meeting will see the committee consider supporting council officers to complete the Play, Active Recreation and Sport Plan to inform future decisions on the Westbrook proposal or the Springfield golf course.
Saving Springfield president Robert Lee said Pitkethley's report for Thursday's meeting had come as a result of discussions with his group, but the group was dissatisfied with it.
"They're trying to push it out past the [2022 local] election so the councillors who support the proposal are not tainted.
"This report says 'we need to do another report'."
Lee said there was plenty to consult on already, and wanted the council to focus on the "key drivers" of the proposal, - a shortage of good quality fields and population growth - which he disputed.
"The basis is something [the council] have manufactured."
Lee said funding for the Westbrook proposal should not have been included in the final, approved Long-term Plan.
This was because in June the council voted against deferring the discussion about the future of Springfield golf course and to produce Thursday's report.
"The council staff have gone rogue. They are acting beyond the authority given by elected members. The Westbrook Sports Precinct had all of these reports prepared to date.
"Elected members have not authorised the council to do all of these reports and investigations. There was no occasion where elected members voted in favour of exploring a sports precinct."
On Wednesday, Springfield Golf Club president Paul Fox said the proposal was "pie in the sky" and "a hell of a lot of money and no guarantee [the precinct] is going to get any use".
"This council are good at spending other people's money but it's got to be paid back.
"It's going to become a white elephant.
"We at Springfield Golf Club do not agree with what the council want to do. Once it's gone, it's gone."
He said the club needed certainty on the future of the lease, which expires in 2027, and wanted the council to renew it ahead of time.
Both the council and mayor Steve Chadwick declined to respond to Fox's and Lee's claims.
Local Democracy Reporting asked the council for an estimated timeframe for the production of the Play, Active Recreation and Sport Plan, as well as changes to the District Plan.
A council spokeswoman said: "The matter will be discussed at tomorrow's committee meeting by the members. It is inappropriate for the organisation to comment prior to that."
She stated the information on timeframes "may well be covered in tomorrow's meeting" and if it was not to reapproach the organisation.