A study into the district’s sports facilities could renew the plans for a sports hub centred around the EA Networks Centre.
Ashburton’s Sport Canterbury regional manager, Jan Cochrane, said with the Ashburton District Council and sporting bodies looking at planning ahead, it could be time to revisit the green field development at the EA Networks Centre, but any decisions will depend on the findings in the utilisation study.
“It’s the time for everyone to collaborate, look at what the vision is and how sports are currently situated,” Cochrane said.
Council’s community services group manager, Steve Fabish, said the utilisation study of the EA Networks Centre and district sports fields will take place later this year.
“The utilisation study is about identifying the current usage of the activities within the EA Networks Centre and, where we have issues with peak periods and times of low usage, where there are other opportunities to increase the usage,” Fabish said.
“A similar study will analyse usage of our district’s existing developed sports fields.
“All of the information will be of high value in supporting any council decisions in the upcoming 2024/2034 long-term plan, with regards to any expansion of the EA Networks Centre and development of additional sports fields.”
The council owns a large tract of land, around 15 hectares, to the west of the sports centre.
Securing additional land to futureproof the stadium site by providing room for the stadium to be extended and space for a variety of outdoor sports to become part of the sports hub, was critical for the council when it signed off the project.
“When the site was chosen that EA Networks Centre is now built on, the land surrounding it was identified as a vision for it to become a sports hub in the future,” Cochrane said.
Whether that time was now will be determined by the findings of the council study, she said.
Other councils in Canterbury have established sports hubs, such as the Selwyn District’s Foster Park in Rolleston and Waimakariri setting up a sports hub in Rangiora next to Mainpower Oval.
“We have seen in other regions the positive benefits of having a sports hub in one place,” Cochrane said.
- By Jonathan Leask