New sports fields an option for Kerikeri

Published on 09 October 2019

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Far North District Council is considering a range of options for the future provision of sports fields in Kerikeri following release of an assessment of sporting needs by consultants, Global Leisure Group (GLG).

GLG surveyed a range of local sports clubs to gauge existing and future demand for sports fields. It also assessed demand for swimming pools, health and fitness facilities, and indoor courts. 

According to GLG, there will be an estimated 12 per cent increase in population within the Kerikeri sports catchment by 2043, although the ‘active population’ (5 to 49 year-olds) will increase by a lesser percentage. 

Of the outdoor winter sports codes, the assessment found football currently has the highest demand for fields and has already outstripped the capacity of existing grounds. It says Kerikeri currently has three full-sized rugby fields; two full-sized football fields and one half-sized junior field; while rugby league has used Kerikeri Domain. The codes also use fields at Kerikeri High School, Kerikeri Primary School and Riverside Junior School. 

General Manager – Infrastructure and Asset Management, Andy Finch, says sport and recreation contributes significantly to the social and economic wellbeing and the Council is committed to supporting a range of recreation and sporting options for communities across the district.

“For some time now, there have been calls for more facilities in Kerikeri. Before making a decision on any new investment, we required robust information on recreational needs to reassure ratepayers they will be getting value for money well into the future. The GLG report provides that data.”

While GLG considered a range of possibilities, its preferred option is to retain existing facilities and to provide additional capacity at a new site. A new site would include five new, floodlit sports fields, club and changing rooms, car parking, lighting and other infrastructure. This preferred option also includes adding a sixth floodlit field by 2043. Council staff will review a report on this option this month. 

GLG says the preferred option would provide the most efficient use of new fields with football operating through winter and cricket during the summer. It could also clear the way for rugby league, which has struggled to find a permanent home in Kerikeri, to move to the BaySport fields at Waipapa. The preferred option doesn’t include pool or other indoor sports facilities. Mr Finch says the Council will continue to explore options to provide for these activities. However, the cost of providing a dedicated, indoor sport facility (estimated to be around $20 million) is considered prohibitive. 

A working committee will now be established to provide input and feedback as the project progresses and to be a conduit for external funding applications and grants in support of sports field provision. James Coleman from the Northern Football Federation will act as the link between the Council project team and Kerikeri sports codes.