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Teething problems related to the first of Wellington city's new-generation artificial sports surfaces have been ironed out and the new pitch at Nairnville Park in Khandallah has the thumbs-up from sporting bodies and neighbouring residents.
Wellington City Council staff met with neighbouring residents after concerns were raised during the winter about issues arising from the large numbers of people using the new $900,000 pitch - especially at weekends.
"The turf has been an unqualified success," says Wellington City Councillor John Morrison, the Council's Recreation Portfolio Leader. "However it rapidly became clear earlier this year that with the large number of games being scheduled concurrently on the field the local community was being put under considerable pressure, particularly in regard to traffic and parking. Road safety was becoming a concern."
Glenn McGovern, the Council's Sports and Recreation Planning Manager, says the Council has worked with local residents and the sports bodies that use the pitch to find workable solutions.
As a result, new parking and traffic management initiatives, including a pick-up and drop-off area and a possible increase in 'no parking' zones, are being introduced around the park, and the scheduling of matches on the turf is being tweaked to facilitate a better flow of usage. "We want to stagger the starts of matches so that there aren't traffic surges when matches start and finish at the same time."
A fence will also be erected around part of the field to keep balls from going astray. Access to the playing field as traditionally enjoyed by the local community will not be impaired by the fence, says Mr McGovern.
The City Council has budgeted $9.5 million in the 2009/19 Long-term Council Community Plan for the construction of six new artificial-turf pitches around the city. The first new full-sized pitch is proposed for an existing car park next to the former Show Buildings in Newtown.