Transfer of reserve status recommended

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Hyde Park sports activity will move if approved

A hearings panel has given its recommendation to transfer the reserve status of the Hyde Park sports ground to the Gore Multisports Complex site.

The panel consisting of Cr Cliff Bolger, Cr Bronwyn Reid and Cr Neville Phillips has recommended to the Gore District Council that the reserve status be transferred to the complex site.

Hyde Park is used as the Gore Wanderers Association Football Club’s home grounds.

The council’s parks and reserves manager, Ian Soper, said among reasons for the change was safety as Hyde Park had a heavy traffic bypass on two of its boundaries.

Another reason was that it would result in sporting codes all being located at one venue, Mr Soper said.

Gore Wanderers division 2 manager Leif Morrison said, in his written submission, he believed the proposed relocation, which offered some well-drained fields, a well-lit pitch and good facilities, would future-proof football in Eastern Southland.

“We are willing to work alongside the GDC to come to the best option for Gore Wanderers AFC and football in Gore,” Mr Morrison said in the submission.

The council received 20 submissions relating to the proposal – 14 in support, four in opposition and two neutral.

Council chief executive Steve Parry said many who supported the transfer did so with some qualifications.

One submitter raised the question of future industrial redevelopment on the Hyde Park site.

However, Cr Bolger, the panel chairman, said the panel was charged with deciding if the reserve status should be transferred to the multisports complex, not with what possible future uses for the park might be. However, he noted concerns and was keen to address them in some measure.

Cr Bolger also noted there could be some funding challenges for the football club related to the move.

Cr Bolger was keen to put into place measures that would ensure residents would be consulted if there were any major developments on Hyde Park in the future.

However, that was not always possible as the land was zoned as mixed use and, depending on the development, it might not need a notified resource consent.

“The council hasn’t decided what the future holds for this piece of land,” Cr Bolger said.

But a compromise was reached at the hearing.

“The council will take it upon itself to consult residents,” Cr Bolger said.

The panel’s recommendation will be submitted to the full council for endorsement before the matter is forwarded to the Department of Conservation for consideration. Doc will then pass its recommendation to the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage, for final approval.

Hyde Park is a longstanding district asset with history that should not be sold or exchanged, Tulloch Group chairman Ian Tulloch says.

Mr Tulloch made the comments in a written submission when the Gore District Council called for public comment on the proposal to transfer Hyde Park’s reserve status to the Gore Multisports Complex site.

“Its location virtually in the middle of the Gore district is excellent and I am not aware of any injuries or accidents to date which in itself is amazing, given that there is no fence between the sportsground and the [heavy traffic] bypass,” Mr Tulloch said in the submission.

Hyde Park could be made safer if a fence was built, he said.

The relocation of the sports played on the field would be expensive and unnecessary.

Gore Wanderers Association Football Club president Melanie McKenzie said in her submission the club agreed in principle to the proposal.

Hyde Park is the club’s ground.

The club had some concerns relating to the loss of identity if it based itself in a room at a sports hub instead of having its own clubhouse.

“We also have a lot of photos and memorabilia around our walls which is really important and special to our club,” she said.

“We believe having our own clubrooms builds on our family-orientated club.”

The other question was who would pay for expenses associated with the transfer if it went ahead.

Resident Carol McLeod was in favour of moving to a venue where various sports codes were already well represented.

“Moving there would also assist some families as they may have other family members involved in other sports and it would mean they had to travel to one venue rather than different locations around town,” she said.