After 12 “frustrating” years, Bay of Plenty Badminton has been allocated a plot of public land to build a new regional home for the sport.
Tauranga City Council yesterday unanimously approved Tatua Reserve in Mount Maunganui’s Newton St for a new multi-purpose facility.
“Ecstatic” was how BayTrust CoachForce Bay of Plenty Badminton development officer Delwyn Cooper described her reaction to the long-awaited decision.
She told the Bay of Plenty Times it would allow the club to get on with the next stage of work.
This was a feasibility study into how a facility would work on the leased site, and how it would be used, managed and funded.
“Watch this space.”
She said badminton was also working with local Parafed and table tennis organisations.
Cooper said the clubs had money to fund one study but no appetite to fund two, which was why it was such a milestone to have the council settle on one piece of land.
She earlier told the meeting the club first approached the council in 2008 for help finding a section.
Several false starts followed, including investigations into Soper Reserve, Trustpower Baypark and a joint partnership with the pre-merger Bay of Plenty Polytechnic.
Most recently, the council looked for a second time at Baypark in Mount Maunganui, identifying five potential sites for a new build.
Cooper said Bay Venues, the council-controlled organisation that operates Baypark, dragged its feet on the investigation.
“They wanted to build the building then talk to us about leasing it.”
Cooper said badminton wanted to own its building – specifically designed for its needs – to give it a sustainable source of income and develop the growing sport.
Bay Venues acting chief executive Justine Brennan told the council the organisation’s concern was about a lack of strategic analysis, not a lack of support for a new badminton venue.
Putting a community facility on a piece of land at Baypark that could potentially be used for a commercial, revenue-generating purpose could leave Bay Venues either needing to put up user fees or ask for a bigger council subsidy.
That financial impact had not been considered in the “ad hoc analysis” of Baypark, she said.
The prospect of using the Omanu Bowling Club land – also council-owned – was raised in the meeting, following news last week the club was in liquidation and urgently trying to sell its building .
Council community services general manager Gareth Wallis said the council viewed that land, on Golf Rd, as “quite strategic” and, should it become available, it would not be a good idea to “give it away to the first cab off the rank”.