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Bring it to Colombo project all go

By Jake Beleski

[email protected]

A $500,000 Lotteries Commission grant means work on rebuilding Masterton’s Colombo Rd netball facilities will get underway very soon.

Bring it to Colombo Trust chairman, Luther Toloa, said the first sod would be turned with the aim of having the rebuild of the facility completed in time for the 2018 netball season.

It had been hoped the rebuild would start after the 2016 season, but a funding shortfall and the Lotteries Commission declining the initial funding application meant more fundraising was needed before any work could start.

Mr Toloa said the community got in behind the trust and helped to raise the shortfall that was required before the Lotteries Commission would reconsider the application.

To have the grant confirmed was especially significant, he said.

“We are absolutely ecstatic that we can finally get on with creating a facility that will now continue to serve our communities and region for generations to come.

“The value to our community is priceless and that is the reason so many local businesses, organisations, fundraising volunteers, sports clubs, families, schools and individuals have helped raise the money we needed to get us to a starting date.”

Costing $2.5m in total, the work involved will include resurfacing and repositioning 12 courts – six artificial and six asphalt with three courts under cover; a new club room with disability access; an accessible toilet and shower facilities; player shelters for the uncovered courts; a large viewing deck; and medical room with outside ambulance access.

Mr Toloa said Bring it to Colombo had raised over $2.2m, and would now only need to fundraise the last $250,000 to complete the project.

The trust was confident they would be able to raise the necessary funds, and the money would not need to be raised before work got underway.

Netball players would not be the only beneficiaries of this project, Mr Toloa said.

“One of the most pleasing aspects of this project was the recognition by all these folks that netball and indeed the wider community deserve better.”

Major donors towards the project include the Masterton District Council ($800,000), Lotteries Commission ($500,000), Trust House ($450,000), Eastern and Central Community Trust ($175,000), South Wairarapa District Council ($60,000), Carterton District Council ($50,000), Masterton South Rotary Club ($30,000), and Wairarapa resident June Edmonds ($15,000).

Mr Toloa also said the contributions of local schools and the rural community were vital to getting the project across the line.

Netball Wairarapa chairperson, Darleen Rameka, said words couldn’t explain the excitement she was feeling after learning the Lotteries Commission grant had been approved.

“It’s been a long time coming . . . it’s a great thing for netball, especially in the Wairarapa.

“But the thing to remember is that it’s not just about netball – the facilities are community facilities.”

It was hoped the new netball centre would help different codes within the region come together.

The new facilities would allow the sport to expand and develop in ways that weren’t previously possible, she said.

“With the roof and lights, we could have twilight games, and we’re looking at introducing new styles like fastnet netball.

“To bring the codes together instead of working in isolation, which I think has been happening for quite some time, will be really important as well.”

Masterton Mayor and deputy chair of the trust, Lyn Patterson, said receiving the grant from the Lotteries Commission was “wonderful news”.

“Obviously there’s still a small way to go with fundraising, but I’m sure people will get behind it to get the project over the line.”

Mr Toloa said several community fundraising initiatives were being planned.

“Our hope is that our young people will now have a facility that provides a pathway for representative opportunities that, at the moment, requires them to drive to Wellington.”

For details of how you can support the rebuild, or to donate, visit www.bringittocolombo.com.















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