Futureproofing Greytown’s sport and recreation facilities is a step closer with the formation of an advisory group led by Greytown Community Sport and Leisure Society (GCSLS).
Chaired by GCSLS board member Gary Hewson, the Greytown Sport and Recreation Advisory Group is also made up of new South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen, and newly-elected Greytown councillors Leigh Hay, Rebecca Fox and Alistair Plimmer, Kuranui College Principal Simon Fuller and representatives from Greytown Trust Lands Trust and the Greytown rugby and bowls clubs.
“There is no doubt that the population of Greytown is rapidly growing: it is increasing at a faster rate than any other town in the South Wairarapa, across all demographics,” explained Hewson.
“Our town needs to be able to cope with a growing demand for sport and recreation facilities, and with anticipated intergenerational change, we need to future-proof for this to provide the right amenities for our grandchildren and their children.”
It was anticipated in the last South Wairarapa Long-term Plan that Greytown’s population will grow 1.5 times its current population, moving from 2,438 to 3,581 by 2043*.
The Group has identified a number of challenges and top of the list is the lack of sporting green space needed to cope with growing demand. Compared to other towns in the South Wairarapa District, Greytown has significantly less Council-provided greenspace.
This lack of sporting greenspace has meant that there is no central location in Greytown that supports a multi-purpose, multi-use amenity and social hub facility for sport and recreation for the whole community.
“A central location would ensure safe and easy access to a range of recreational facilities for both young and old alike. Fundamentally supporting community cohesiveness and protecting our Greytown greenspace heritage for all to enjoy,” added Hewson.
There are strong arguments for creating a central community hub. Sport New Zealand, in its recent research on the Value of Sport, found that 73% of New Zealanders agreed that sport and physical activity helps to build vibrant and stimulating communities, with 84% believing that sport and physical activity brings people together and creates a sense of belonging.
Kuranui College has an urgent need for a new indoor gym and will need to rebuild to provide this facility. This has presented the community with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a sports facility that the entire district can use for a range of sport and community purposes**.
Adding to these challenges are the changes to the distribution of the community dividend provided by Greytown Trust Lands Trust. These changes have been made to ensure the Trust’s financial sustainability and their ability to maintain a reasonable level of community funding. To do this the Trust must balance the level of support it makes through land ownership and cash distribution.
The Group has identified the need for both indoor and outdoor facilities and is working through a range of options to meet increased demand, whilst ensuring long term sustainably for sport and recreation activity in Greytown into the future.
* ID Consultants’ population projections from p.12 SWDC LTP 2018-2028.
** Sport NZ p.20 Value of Sport 2017