$10,000 for ES Hockey

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Eastern Southland Hockey Association will benefit by $10,000 from a Gore District Council decision to overturn a recommendation of its grants subcommittee.

In a report to the council meeting last Thursday, the subcommittee recommended the $10,000 application from the association be turned down.

The hockey association applied for a grant towards its two-storey pavilion project with changing rooms, showers, toilets and storage area and to relocate the current pavilion to a different place at the Gore turf.

The councillors discussed the matter at length.

Subcommittee chairman Doug Grant said his concern was the grant would be funded by ratepayers.

“We don’t have a budget when we go into these grants.

“This is not a discretionary fund, it is ratepayer-funded.”

Mayor Tracy Hicks said considering the hockey pavilion was an investment on council land it was appropriate the council contribute.

It’s not regularly used as a multipurpose venue but it is becoming more used as a multipurpose venue.–Mayor Tracy Hicks

The project would add a resource to the community.

“It’s not regularly used as a multipurpose venue but it is becoming more used as a multipurpose venue,” Mr Hicks said.

Councillor Peter Grant said he was in favour of making the grant.

“I think hockey’s been harshly treated here.

“The rugby clubs, the netball girls all get their grounds maintained by the council all year round.

“We don’t do anything maintenance-wise for the hockey people.”

He questioned what it would cost to maintain grass hockey fields if games were still held at Hamilton Park.

Councillor Cliff Bolger said he was reluctant to go against the recommendation of the subcommittee.

“They’re given a responsibility and I am satisfied they have weighed up the pros and cons.

“It’s very fortunate if you are in the position when you can give away money – even more fortunate if its not your own.”

Councillor Bret Highsted said the council provided subsidised facilities for other sporting codes in the town.

Ten grand – for goodness sake.”

In 2011 the council agreed to fund a 10-year loan to the association which was subsequently converted to a grant in November 2017.

It was his understanding that grant had been made to help provide additional car parking, Cr Highsted said.

“At that time it was seen the parking would just be for the hockey but clearly over the passage of time that car parking has become essential to the multisports complex.”

When Mr Hicks put the matter to the vote, councillors voted six to five in favour of the application.

When The Ensign approached hockey association president Janette Collins after the meeting she said she did not want to comment as she had not officially been told of the decision.