Tue, Apr 30, 2024 4:45 PM

Marlborough sport the winner in dry turf decision



Marlborough sporting codes including rugby and football will benefit from Council’s Economic Finance and Community Committee decision today to back a ‘dry turf’ for Blenheim.

Subject to full Council approval on 16 May, Council enters a new lease agreement with the Marlborough Boys’ College Board of Trustees for College Park in Stephenson Street, Blenheim.

The area will be offered as a ‘dry turf’ facility for other sporting codes rather than a dedicated hockey turf although Hockey Marlborough were likely to still use the facility, Council’s Property and Community Facilities Manager Jamie Lyall told the committee.

Hockey Marlborough have a new hockey turf and pavilion recently completed on Ministry of Education land in Nelson Street at the Marlborough Girls’ College.

Mr Lyall told the committee that football and rugby have always had challenges finding a suitable facility for training on wet winter nights.

“A dry turf will provide a solution to this. It makes sense to use this facility as much as possible in conjunction with the Marlborough Boys’ College,” he said.

College Park is an extension of the boys' college sports fields with the hockey turf, a large green area with synthetic cricket strip used by Marlborough Cricket, one football pitch and one rugby field.

The park is also home to the Blenheim Roller Skating Club with a banked track and a concrete arena for in-line and roller skating.

Council agreed in 2021 to surrender the current lease of College Park with the Ministry of Education.

“At the time it was planned that Bohally Intermediate School would be reconstructed on College Park as part of the Combined Colleges Project – Te Tātoru o Wairau - and a new hockey turf and pavilion would be built near the Marlborough Girls College,” Mr Lyall said.

In January 2024 the Combined Colleges Project in its proposed form was cancelled by Central Government.

Economic Finance and Community Committee chair Councillor David Croad said it was pleasing to see something positive come out of what had been a gruelling process for both the girls’ and boys’ colleges, Bohally Intermediate and the community.

“It’s good to see this additional facility will benefit our wider sporting fraternity,” he said.

Budgets are already in place to maintain College Park to current levels and turf specialists Tiger Turf have indicated without water the facility will last for another 10 years, Mr Lyall said.

Council will enter into user agreements with the sporting codes to manage operational requirements.

The change in turf use at College Park also aligns with Council’s Sports Facilities Strategic Plan 2021 which identified the need for additional flood-lit sports field capacity and an artificial surface.

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