$500k sports facilities funding allocated to Mangawhai
15 Oct 2019, 8:12 AM
Budding Olympian skateboarders are among the newest beneficiaries as the latest $500,000 installment in a series of regional sporting initiative grants is made.
The Northland Regional Council (NRC) announced more than 12 months ago the Mangawhai Activity Zone (MAZ) would be among five regional sporting initiatives expected to share close to $3.8 million over the three years from 2018 to 2021.
Councillor Penny Smart, the regional council’s Kaipara constituency representative, says the money is collected through a Regional Sporting Facilities Rate introduced via the Northland Regional Council’s 2018-28 Long Term Plan.
The $15 per household rate aims to assist with the development of sporting facilities of regional and district benefit throughout Northland and the previous council had last year earmarked almost $3.8M funding to be paid out in stages to initiatives in each of Northland’s three districts, Far North, Kaipara and Whangarei.
“Councillors resolved to allocate the 2018-2021 funding last year to give certainty to the organisations overseeing the projects and provide them with a platform to apply for funding from other parties.”
About $700,000 had already been paid out last year to regional sports hubs ‘Sportsville Dargaville’ ($600,000) and ‘Sportsville Kaikohe’ (an initial $100,000) and MAZ – the third of five projects expected to benefit over three years – had received its promised $500,000 recently.
The Mangawhai Activity 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.
However, MAZ chair Colin Gallagher says the latest council funding will be “a major advantage for those budding Olympians to enable them to train for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics”.
“MAZ sincerely appreciates the benefits of this grant, not only for the skaters but also for the community, as the MAZ Park is becoming a focal point for families, friends and visitors alike as there is a wide range of activities for all ages to participate in outdoor activities and pursuits.”
Mr Gallagher says the grant will help cement the Mangawhai Skate Park as one of the best in the country, with the “deepest and best-constructed” bowls in the Southern Hemisphere.
“We’re also hugely delighted with our ability to host major NZ skating events such as The Bowl Jam held early February each year.”
“Grants such as these create new opportunities for young children youths and families to be outside together enjoying pursuits as this is part of the fabric that communities need to be active together.”
Sport Northland Spaces and Places Manager Stu Middleton is another thrilled with the MAZ funding, describing it as “the last piece of the funding jigsaw for the (MAZ) trust”.
“It’s great to see facilities of this significance occurring in the districts, enhancing Northland’s growing list of international standard facilities.”
Mr Middleton acknowledged the MAZ board, whose volunteer members had driven the project from a community dream to a regional reality.
“Sport Northland’s core purpose is ‘enriching lives through play, active recreation and sport’ and, by working alongside organisations like MAZ we believe we can enrich the lives of more locals in Kaipara and wider Northland areas.
Meanwhile, Cr Smart says the two largest payments to be distributed via the NRC rate over 2018 to 2021 have yet to be applied for. Under the terms of the 2018 funding decision, the Te Hiku Sports Hub initiative in Kaitaia (which includes an aquatic centre with heated pool) is scheduled to apply for $1.4 million from May next year.
Last off the ranks for the 2018-2021 allocations will be the Pohe Island Sports Hub in Whangarei, due to apply for $1.18M spread over two payments in 2021 for a comprehensive plan that includes both bike park and rugby facilities.