Sport & recreation  |  22 May 2020

Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub in Halswell could become a suitable home for a new indoor multi-court facility, but changes are needed to resolve traffic, parking and access issues, a Hearings Panel has decided.

After considering public submissions, a Hearings Panel chaired by Cashmere Councillor Tim Scandrett has given its support to reserve land at Ngā Puna Wai being leased for up to 33 years as the site for a 10-court Netsal Centre.

However, the panel is recommending a number of conditions are placed on the lease. They want additional measures taken to address the concerns raised by local organisations and residents around access, traffic management and parking. 

"We’re including conditions with our recommendation for staff to develop a comprehensive Traffic Management Plan with input from stakeholders that would cover internal traffic and parking issues within Ngā Puna Wai and the surrounding residential streets,’’ Cr Scandrett says.

“We’d also like them to investigate the future of a shared cycleway from Curletts Rd to Ngā Puna Wai and to work with Environment Canterbury on options to improve public transport to and from the sports hub.’’

The panel’s recommendations, which will be considered by Christchurch City Council before a final decision is made, follow a community consultation process earlier this year.

Residents and interest groups were asked for their feedback on a proposal to lease reserve land at Ngā Puna Wai to Netsal for the development of an indoor centre designed for netball and futsal. Futsal is an indoor variant of football which is becoming one of the country’s fastest growing sports.

Netsal, an organisation jointly set up by Mainland Football Federation and the Christchurch Netball Centre, would develop, own and operate the facility as a new home for both sports. 

Of the 92 submissions received by the Council on the Netsal Centre proposal, 76 per cent were in favour, and 24 per cent were opposed to granting the lease.

Presentations were made to the panel on behalf of several organisations including Mainland Football, Christchurch Netball Centre, the Halswell Residents Association and representatives of Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub Trust and the Canterbury A&P Association.

Cr Scandrett says after considering all submissions, the panel supported granting a ground lease for new indoor courts that would complement the facilities already on offer on at Ngā Puna Wai, but valid concerns had been raised by many submitters around access to the centre, traffic issues and parking, which the panel wanted the Council to address and mitigate.

The panel has also asked staff to report back to the Council on options for the development of an additional entrance to Ngā Puna Wai in the draft 2021-2031 Long Term Plan, noting that many submitters raised concerns about the impact on the existing entrance off Augustine Drive.

Cr Scandrett says the panel is also keen for Netsal to be required to work closely and collaboratively with other sports bodies already in partnership at the hub.