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Taskforce aims to solve sports puzzle

Kuranui College is an important piece in Greytown’s sports and recreation jigsaw. PHOTO/FILE

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A taskforce has been set up to solve the jigsaw puzzle of Greytown’s sporting future.

Population growth, further development, and rising prices mean community leaders in the South Wairarapa town have questions to answer over its recreational areas.

Space is at a premium for sportspeople.

Membership of the town’s 15 sporting clubs is more than 1100 people – almost half the population.

Soldiers Memorial Park is home to several codes but is struggling to meet demand.

Studies expect a 150 per cent increase in residents over the next 25 years.

Earlier this year a feasibility report recommended Kuranui College develop a new gymnasium and the development of an integrated sports hub with three new sports fields adjacent to the college.

The college’s gymnasium is in urgent need of redevelopment after a poor earthquake assessment.

The project’s price tag is estimated to be around $9 million, not including land purchases.

The Greytown Trust Lands Trust and Greytown Community Sport and Leisure Society have announced an advisory group to work through these problems.

It includes representatives from each organisation, and South Wairarapa mayor Alex Beijen, councillors, and representatives from sports clubs, and Kuranui College.

Greytown Community Sport and Leisure Society is an umbrella group for a Team Greytown approach.

Society chairman Gary Hewson will lead the group.

“Our town needs to be able to cope with a growing demand for sport and recreation facilities, and with anticipated intergenerational change,” he said.

“We need to future-proof for this to provide the right amenities for our grandchildren and their children.”

Hewson said a central location would ensure safe and easy access to a range of recreational facilities for both young and old alike.

“Fundamentally supporting community cohesiveness and protecting our Greytown greenspace heritage for all to enjoy,” he said.

Kuranui principal Simon Fuller said the need to upgrade is “urgent” as the college was one of the fastest growing secondary schools in New Zealand.

“Our school gym is in urgent need of replacement and time is of the essence, so we welcome the approach Greytown Community Sport and Leisure has taken to addressing the need to futureproof the town’s sport and recreation facilities.

“We are extremely keen to ensure that Kuranui College can contribute to providing opportunities for our community to come together, be active and healthy.”

The advisory group met for the first time last month and meets again next month.

Meanwhile, housing development in Greytown continues apace.

A longstanding deal to sell land at the south of the township is set to close on Friday.

Councillors moved to complete the sale to a developer at an extraordinary meeting last week.

That would boost the coffers for amenities.

To the east of the town, building may start on The Orchards retirement complex as early as next month.

Council coffers may get a boost from imminent land sales.

But that is balanced against a squeeze on funding from the town’s lands trust, due to changes to its community dividend.

Earlier this year, the lands trust told residents rent rebates would need to be reduced for community sports, education and cultural projects.

The Greytown bowls and rugby clubs both receive remissions from the trust.

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