Hawke’s Bay’s future as a host of national and international multi-sports was outlined to Minister for Sport & Recreation, Grant Robertson on his visit here this week, with three capital projects in the pipeline expected to create significant economic benefit to the region.
The Minister visited the Hawke’s Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust (HBCFC Trust) facilities at Mitre 10 Regional Sports Park in Hastings, where he met a number of New Zealand’s top athletes training there as part of Athletics NZ performance camp.
“We’re already a favoured training venue for our national elite athletes and our longer-term goal is for Hawke’s Bay to become an internationally-recognised sporting event region,” says HBCFC Trust chairman Sir Graeme Avery.
The Trust is currently working on three capital projects that will combine to become a significant income earner for the region.
The largest of the three projects is a $32 million Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre, which will link into the current EIT Institute of Health & Sport facilities and will open in early to mid-2022. It is expected that around 166 full-time equivalent jobs will be directly generated through this project.
The other two are a $3 million extension of the current sports hall, and a new $5 million accommodation hostel adjacent to the current Institute.
“Together, these multi-sports facilities will make Mitre 10 Park unrivalled in New Zealand as a world-class sports training, competition and major events venue,” said Sir Graeme.
“Regional, national and possibly international sports events could be held at the Park and across the region, bringing in a significant number of athletes and supporters, with the visitor spend materially helping the post-COVID economic recovery of the hospitality and retail sectors in Hawke’s Bay.”
However, it isn’t just the economic benefit that should be counted, said Sir Graeme. There will also be huge community aspirational benefits.
“The opportunity for local athletes, particularly young people, to participate in major events here in their own region, with whānau and their community watching and supporting them is a huge part of why the Trust was formed.
“Not to mention, the buzz for all users of the Trust’s facilities, from school children to our community gym members working out alongside and rubbing shoulders with national and international athletes, is very motivational.”
The Aquatic Centre will boast an International Swimming Federation (FINA) global elite standard pool that will add to other world-class sporting facilities located at the regional sports park.
In particular, the existing International Hockey Federation (FIH) Level 1 hockey turf, the World International Athletics (IAAF) Level 2 athletics facilities, and the multi-court canoe polo facility.
The Trust has been working on securing funding for the three capital projects with contributions coming from the Lotteries Significant Grants Fund, the Provincial Growth Fund, and the Infrastructure Reference Group’s (IRG) shovel-ready funding.
The Hawke’s Bay community has also contributed $19m, including $4 million from Hastings District Council.
Photo: Grant Robertson, Minister of Sport & Recreation and Napier MP Stuart Nash visited the EIT Institute of Health & Sport in Hastings and met up with world champion shot putters Dame Valerie Adams and Tom Walsh at a performance training camp being held there. Sir Graeme Avery, chair of the Hawke’s Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust, hosted the visit.