Centennial Park suffers long-term maintenance and drainage issues.
An Auckland Council needs assessment of Wellsford’s Centennial Park has been branded a joke after it concluded that just one tennis court would be enough for the town and surrounding area until at least 2043.
Centennial Park currently has four tennis courts and six netball courts, all of which are in a poor state due to long-term issues with maintenance and drainage.
In December, Council prepared a needs assessment report to look at future community sport and recreation needs, ahead of the start of the development of a new “master plan” for the 16-hectare sports park and courts set to begin this month.
The “desktop review” by the Service and Asset Planning, Customer and Community Directorate department looked at more than a dozen current plans and sports documents, including the Greater Wellsford District Sport and Active Recreation Plan from March, 2018.
In the What We Found section, it stated that based on Auckland tennis strategy provision standards, one tennis court would be sufficient for the current and future Wellsford population.
“Future investment should consider providing only six new or upgraded courts [and] at least one court should have an artificial surface marked for multiple sports, including tennis,” it said.
The conclusion was arrived at using Statistics NZ population projections that said Wellsford’s population would only be 2250 by 2043, and the Auckland tennis facility strategy that recommended a minimum of one court per 2500 population.
However, the same report quoted Council figures that envisaged the number of dwellings in Wellsford doubling over the next decade, with at least 830 new homes being developed, which on current occupancy rates would take the population to well over 4000 within 10 years.
Wellsford Districts Sport & Recreation Collective’s chair and tennis club treasurer and junior coordinator, Wendy Crow-Jones, was incredulous and said the town was growing at a rate of knots.
“It’s a joke, isn’t it? We’ve had four tennis courts since the mid-1980s. Now they’re saying one court in a multi-court area,” she said. “Do you know how long this master plan has been planned? Probably for 20 years. We’ve been doing this for years and got nowhere. They aren’t listening to us.
“Centennial Park is a joke, it’s the worst facility on the entire Auckland isthmus. They treat Wellsford like it’s a primitive backwater in the back of beyond. And they wonder why we’re so upset. It is really quite disheartening.”
Rodney Local Board members voted to receive the needs assessment report and endorse its recommended approach and scope for the development of a master plan for Wellsford Centennial Park “which will guide future decision making on investment for the park by providing general design direction for the park, including the approximate location of facilities and improvements”.
Deputy chair Beth Houlbrooke said it was a good report and she hoped it would give Wellsford the confidence that the Board was looking at how it improved Centennial Park.
Council had not responded to Mahurangi Matters’ request for comments on the apparent discrepancy in population projection figures as Mahurangi Matters went to press.