What happens to the current users of these areas?
The project proposes a modern space that can cater to all current users as well as accommodating additional organised sport and creating a destination park for passive and casual recreation. The current sportsfields and turf will be improved and enhanced. If the project should proceed Council would continue to work with the current users to accommodate their needs.
I love green space behind my property – what if I don’t want to lose it?
The initial proposal ensures the green space amenity value of the area is retained to a large degree in the areas proposed for sport and recreation precinct and possible residential housing.
How will the golf club be affected?
Springfield Golf Course is located on Council owned land. The existing lease for this land expires in 2027. If the proposal was to proceed the golf course would be redeveloped as part of the sport and recreation precinct with an area of the golf course set aside for residential housing. Council are working with New Zealand Golf and the Springfield Golf Course committee on potential options for the club and its members, including the potential of relocating them to one of the two premier 18-hole golf courses in Rotorua.
Who owns the land occupied by the Springfield Golf course?
The land occupied by the Springfield Golf course was purchased by the Council from a private land owner in 1968.
What will happen to the walking tracks along the stream and all the trees?
The initial draft Masterplan ensures the amenity value of the area is retained. It is proposed that recreational facilities are developed with a focus on health and wellness by enhancing the existing natural environment. Further work will be undertaken on which trees are likely to be affected by the proposed developments and what planting could be undertaken. Council welcome community feedback on what they value about the area currently and future aspirations to ensure these factors are considered as part of further planning.
Were residents consulted before the studies and first proposal were undertaken?
Residents were given the opportunity to provide feedback during development of the Spatial Plan in 2016. The Plan highlighted that the Springfield Golf Course was a potential area for growth, especially for housing.
Currently, we are asking for feedback on how the community values the current Westbrook sports facilities and area, what you would like to see in any future developments, and any other thoughts you may have on the proposal. There will also be a further opportunity to submit views on the project during the Long Term Plan consultation process.
What about traffic and parking?
The project currently proposes upgrades to existing, and development of new infrastructure including roads and car parking to service the precinct and minimise impacts on residents.
Why can’t the existing sport fields be upgraded?
There are a number of sports fields around Rotorua that are failing to meet the needs of current sports field users. This is due to a raft of environmental factors such as geothermal issues (e.g. Kuirau park and Puarenga Park). A specialised sports field consultant has provided indicative costs to upgrade the existing sports field network. Upgrades would help meet some of the current demand but will not fully meet the demand and will not provide for future growth. The ongoing maintenance required to keep these sports fields up to standard due to the environmental factors would also be considerable.
It has been identified that the cost to create a precinct at Westbrook, with the help of external funding, would be less than the cost to upgrade and maintain the current field supply. The creation of a single sports precinct would also enable Rotorua to attract more events, tournaments and conferences, providing an economic benefit to the city, as well as further ease housing pressures through opening up land for residential development.
Will there be an ecological assessment undertaken?
As part of the ongoing planning an ecological assessment will be undertaken.
Which existing sports fields do not meet modern standards?
Neil Hunt, Puarenga and Kuirau Park are the three main parks that are currently unable to cope with winter sports use, with users experiencing ongoing issues and winter closures. Current users affected are football and rugby.
What is Council doing in the meantime to alleviate pressure off those reserves that do not meet current standards?
Council has made a number of changes to its sports field network to alleviate pressure on those fields do not meet current standards. This includes the installation of additional sports field lights at Puketawhero Park, to enable some of the football training to move from Neil Hunt Park and shifting touch rugby off Kuirau Park onto Westbrook Reserve. Irrigation has been installed on two fields at Westbrook to improve quality and therefore enable greater use.
What will happen with the existing sports fields outside of the Westbrook area if the proposal goes ahead?
No decisions on the future of these reserves has been made, however some of these reserves may continue to be suitable for summer sports (e.g. Cricket, Athletics). Initial conversations with summer codes have been undertaken and are ongoing. Community consultation will be undertake on any future use or re-development of these spaces.
Has Council considered Arawa Park for the development of a sports precinct?
Arawa Park was gifted to the City of Rotorua by Ngati Whakaue for racecourse purposes as part of the Fenton Agreement in 1880. Under a protocol agreement between the Rotorua Lakes Council, the Crown and Pukeroa Oruawhata on behalf of Ngati Whakaue, where gifted lands are no longer required for the purpose of which they were gifted, the land will be handed back to Ngati Whakaue as the original owners.
What are the benefits of different sporting clubs sharing facilities?
Increasingly many sporting clubs are facing financial pressure which has led to a recent growth in the number of community sports and recreation hubs being established across New Zealand. Enabling different sporting clubs to work together, share facilities, resources and costs reduces the financial burden on those clubs and allowing them to focus on the delivery of their sport.
Here are some examples of some existing sports hubs in New Zealand:
Is there a space for athletics in this proposal?
Council has been working with users and stakeholders of the current Westbrook sports facilities and will continue to do so throughout this process. Feedback from stakeholders, including Lake City Athletics, will enable us to shape the final concept and will help to accommodate the needs of users.
Why is the Westbrook Sports & Recreation Precinct proposal (Westbrook Precinct) mentioned in the 2021-2031 LTP?
The 2021-2031 Long-term Plan sets out what Council is proposing to achieve over the next ten years and how that will be funded. The Westbrook Precinct is not a proposed project within the first three years of the proposed Long-term Plan so it’s not a focus of consultation at this time.
Council and the community have a lot of work to do before the Westbrook Precinct proposal options (including costs) are ready to consult on.
Has a decision been made about the proposed Westbrook Precinct project?
No. The Westbrook Precinct proposal has been signalled to be part of community consultation in the 2024-2034 Long-term Plan.
During the initial engagement with the community in 2020 we let the community know that the timeline for this proposal would be extended to be considered for the Long-term Plan for 2024. In order to bring this conversation to the community as part of that LTP process, Council advised the proposal would need further investigation and planning work in the meantime to ensure it was in the best position to be considered.
Is Council selling reserve land to pay for the proposed Westbrook Precinct project?
Council has not made any decisions around funding for the proposed Westbrook Precinct project at this stage. Any proposals (including funding) will require extensive community consultation.