$3.8M of sports facilities funding allocated by NRC

18 Sep 2018

Five regional sporting initiatives are poised to receive close to $3.8 million from a new sporting facilities rate introduced through the Northland Regional Council’s 2018-28 Long Term Plan.

The Regional Sporting Facilities Rate of $15 per household is for the development of sporting facilities of regional and district benefit throughout Northland.  

The initiatives are in each of Northland’s three districts, Far North, Kaipara and Whangārei. First up to be funded is Sportsville Dargaville, allocated up to $600,000 from October this year, followed by Sportsville Kaikohe, earmarked to receive up to an initial $100,000 from this November.

Both projects are creating sports hubs and have established separate administrative bodies to steer the projects in partnership with the various clubs and associations that are lining-up to use the new facilities.

Sportsville Dargaville’s official opening for stage one of its project is later this month and the grant will fund the second stage - sports court floodlights and the fit-out for the new facility. Sportsville Kaikohe will use its initial funding for stage one of its project - floodlighting for rugby fields.

The Mangawhai Activity Zone is scheduled to get up to $500,000 from May 2019. Its ambitious plans include the completion of an Olympic standard skateboard facility to attract training opportunities for the upcoming games. The zone already has facilities such as an all-weather multi-sport court, cricket/soccer fields, an outdoor fitness gym, an adventure playground and bike tracks.

The Te Hiku Sports Hub initiative in Kaitaia, which includes an aquatic centre with heated pool, is to receive the largest allocation from the fund over the first three years - a whopping $1.4 million from May 2020.

Last off the ranks for 2018-2021 is the Pohe Island Sports Hub in Whangarei, due to receive $1.18M spread over two payments in 2021 for a comprehensive plan that includes both bike park and rugby facilities.

The regional council has resolved to allocate the 2018-2021 funding now to give certainty to the organisations overseeing the projects and provide them with a platform to apply for funding from other parties. The allocations are subject to the regional council Chief Executive’s final sign-off.

A sixth project, the Northland Football Hub in Whangarei, is earmarked for consideration for a 2021-2024 round of grants alongside further funding for Sportsville Kaikohe and Pohe Island Sports Hub.

Councillor Paul Dimery says submissions received during the LTP process were “substantially supportive” of new sports facilities.

 “We’re so pleased to be able to contribute to these initiatives, which will benefit the mental health and physical wellbeing of Northlanders and strengthen our communities,” he says.

“The benefits of these projects will be felt for many years to come and everyone stands to gain – from pre-schoolers through to the elderly as well as those who are disabled, unwell or disadvantaged in some other way.

“The geographic spread of these facilities also makes attendance and participation far more accessible to Northlanders. We know that people are currently travelling huge distances to get to the facilities they need.”

Sport Northland Chief Executive Brent Eastwood says the approval of the rate is a massive boost for the development of quality sports facilities across the region.

“In the past, it has been very hard work for key Northland facility projects to leverage often only small amounts of district council seed funding through external funding applications.

“This new rate is a game-changer for these projects because sports organisations can now apply to the likes of Foundation North and NZ Lotteries in the knowledge that they have secured sufficient Northland funding to be confident of success”.

Eastwood goes on to say that Sport Northland has a dedicated strategic goal around ensuring that the right facilities are developed in the right locations across the region.

“We are here to support the great work that is being undertaken by the various organisations in developing key facilities across the three district council areas. The regional council is funding the projects in a strategic way and with this prioritisation for the next three years now approved, each district has some exciting facilities set to be completed in the coming years” he says.