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Sport hub venue puzzle

The field in Howard Booth Park. PHOTO/FILE


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The $2 million sports hub proposed for Carterton would be a massive boon for the township – if they can ever decide where to put it.

A public survey gave the plan a warm reception but some pushback in the commentary has questioned if Clareville would provide a better home for the facility.

That feedback caught the attention of Carterton District councillors this week at a committee meeting, but the Carterton Sports and Recreation Trust deputy chairman, Mike Osborne, says if it’s not going to be at Howard Booth Park, then the hub is probably not happening.

“If people have major issues with Howard Booth Park, and they really don’t want it there, then it probably won’t happen.”

Mr Osborne said Howard Booth Park was the chosen location in the initial plan, before analysis led them to Carrington Park and then back to Howard Booth Park.

“It [Carrington Park] seemed like a central location and it marginally pipped Howard Booth Park,” he said.

“We went down the route of examining the feasibility to do things there, even to the point of contacting neighbouring residents just to see if they were okay with it.”

But then major hurdles appeared around traffic and the orientation of the rugby ground, he said.

“There was no room for expansion,” he said.

The upshot of that was the greater certainty that Howard Booth Park was the right spot.

Mr Osborne said the vision for the sports hub was to create a community-centric sports park and there was an access issue with Clareville.

“Going to Clareville is quite a specific trip to do.”

They wanted the location to be friendly to all ages, he said.

Carterton Sports and Recreation Trust chairman Steve Hurley said when the Carterton Rugby Football Club had joined the group, Carrington Park, Howard Booth Park and Clareville were considered against five key attributes.

Carrington Park came out on top, Mr Hurley said.

Partway through the investigation of Carrington Park there were problems with parking and traffic flow that ruled it out.

Howard Booth Park was next in line as the favoured choice against the criteria they had used.

“At the moment there is no reason to move away from Howard Booth Park,” Mr Hurley said.

“It’s ticking all the boxes in regard to our requirements.

“There’s no need for us to look at Clareville at this stage because it was number three on the list.”

It would only be considered if Howard Booth Park threw a “curve ball”.

Mr Hurley said he was very happy with the results of the survey which showed community support and an “appetite” to put some ratepayer contribution towards the hub.

But the heads gathered around the policy and strategy committee meeting seemed to think the issue of location should be investigated further.

Carterton District councillor Brian Deller pointed out that almost a third of survey respondents expressed concerns about the limitations of Howard Booth Park.

He was not knocking the proposal but felt that perhaps Clareville should be investigated as well.

Carterton Mayor John Booth said while it was a good idea, the question of where the hub should be placed had been raised a lot.

A total of 71 per cent of survey respondents supported the facility.

The committee agreed to recommend to the council that the Howard Booth Park sports hub proposal be included in the Long-Term Plan with some provision of funding from rates and making land available.



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