The Regional Sports Park is part of the solution to the East Coast’s poor track record in crime, according to Hastings District Council Mayor and Sports Park Trust chairman, Lawrence Yule.
“I was dismayed to see Hawke’s Bay was over represented in the recent blitz on drink driving, especially among younger drivers. This, and our ‘performance’ in other offending, is exactly the type of thing we’re aiming to turn around with the Regional Sports Park,” he says.
Mr Yule says Hawke’s Bay has the opportunity to lead New Zealand by using excellent sporting facilities to reduce crime and improve social outcomes overall. “The Park’s management will be linked into all sectors of our society, from kindergartens to rest homes, from at-risk groups to high performance sport and so on. There will be programmes in place to cater for all these sectors,” he says.
Mr Yule’s comments are reinforced by Principal Youth Court Judge, Andrew Becroft. “I very seldom have a young person appear before me who is actively engaged in sport or some other community activity. It has been described as ‘a kid in sport stays out of court’ and that’s certainly been my experience,” he says.
Violent crime in the East Coast region is among the worst in New Zealand (10th worst of 12 regions) and has increased 40 percent in the last ten years. [source Dept of Statistics]
Stage one of the Regional Sports Park incorporates an all-weather athletics track and 2500 seat grandstand. The track has been laid and construction of the grandstand is due to commence early in 2009. When all three stages are complete the 30ha site will have eight football fields, 16 tennis courts, 18 netball courts, an indoor velodrome and central complex to accommodate gymsports, retail and office space.
The cost of all three stages is $56.8m. The Park will be funded through a mix of sponsorship, charitable and community organisations, the corporate sector central and local government.
The cost to an average ratepayer in the Hastings District is $26 per year or 50 cents per week.