Tairua Skate Facility

Plans for the Tairua skate facility have been delayed due to a legal challenge in the High Court against the selection of Cory Park Domain as the site.

The drawings show the current design and elevation plans for the skate park, but are not yet final. 

A Tairua neighbourhood group opposed to a children’s skate facility at Cory Park Domain has initiated a legal challenge in the High Court against the Tairua-Pauanui Community Board’s decision to locate the facility there.

The Preserve Cory Park Domain Incorporated Society (the Society) launched its legal challenge on 11 March, after the Tairua-Pauanui Community Board resolved at its 17 February meeting that the skate park project could proceed at the domain. The approval was subject to noise mitigation measures being incorporated into the design and confirmation from the Tairua Sports and Recreation Trust that their funding contribution of $150,000 to the construction costs had been achieved. Both conditions have been met.

“Our lawyers are negotiating with the Society to try to avoid spending ratepayers’ money on a legal process, but the matter has not been resolved,” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. “This is disappointing. We’d much rather spend ratepayers’ money delivering a recreational amenity for the town’s young people.”

Cory Park Domain is zoned in our District Plan for active recreation such as organised sports and skate park facilities. There has been long-term demand in Tairua for such a facility. In the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan, the Tairua-Pauanui Community Board budgeted for the investigation and construction of a skate facility.

Irrespective of what the Society decides to do, Council and the Community Board will be asked to consider a staff report at their May meetings, recommending that all previous decisions relating to the skate park at Cory Park be revoked and that the Council starts the process afresh. This would involve assessing all of the possible locations for a skate park in Tairua, deciding on a preferred option, and then consulting with the whole community on their preferred option. This process would be run from the Council’s Thames office and the final decision made by Council.

Background

The Tairua-Pauanui Community Board prioritised budget for investigation and construction of a skate facility through its 2018-2028 Long Term Plan ($150,000). This was in response to long term community demand for a skate facility to cater for all skill and age levels in Tairua.In September 2019 both Tairua and Hikuai School children were involved in helping to identify the type of skate facility and features they would like.

In February/March 2020 a feasibility assessment was undertaken, and two new concept plans were developed for Pepe Reserve, and adjoining residents were consulted on their views.

At its 18 May 2020 meeting, the Tairua-Pauanui Community Board considered a report that looked at a number of historic and new locations considered for skate facilities in Tairua.

The Board requested; “staff progress development of detailed design of a community skate facility at Cory Park with key users, stakeholders and adjoining residents.”

The 18 May report outlined the options for the development of a skate facility in Tairua to assist the Community Board with the next steps of this project.  The report has been informed by initial consultation with adjoining residents, user groups and skate park designers. The report highlighted two clear preferred locations, that met suitable site criteria, these were Pepe Reserve and Cory Park. Pepe Reserve was identified to contain a number of constraints including proximity to residential properties, infrastructure and conflicting users making it impractical to construct a usable skating area. However, the main constraint with Pepe Reserve is its proximity to residential houses (discussions were held with residents), and the underlying park zoning which provides for a more passive recreation activity (walking, cycling, children’s swings etc), rather than more formal recreation activities such as skate parks. As such, a Discretionary resource consent would be required for a skate facility at Pepe reserve with a minimum number nominated of adjoining residents to be notified as affected parties.

Cory Park is zoned for active or formal recreation, where activities such as rugby, and skate parks are an anticipated use and are Permitted within that zone. Cory Park has enough flat, open space. Discussion with Tairua Skate Board user group and the Rugby Club, on 30 April, met with initial support for the proposal with the long-term aspiration by the club for a sporting ‘hub’ at the park, with improvements to the netball and tennis courts and cricket nets part of their initial priorities. The club have recently installed lighting and have funding for CCTV cameras as well as new cricket nets at the north eastern corner of the park.

A concept was developed with Tairua skateboard users in discussions with Tairua Rugby Club for the north western corner of Cory Park. This concept incorporated a design that was built around the new cricket nets and was to be a two-stage facility with a flat street skate area and a flow bowl.

A meeting was held on 23 July 2020 with Hornsey Road residents to discuss this proposal, and there was strong opposition with key points being:

  • Skate facility will attract more anti-social behaviour
  • Skate facility will be noisy
  • There are no toilet facilities close by
  • They wanted staff to investigate a location out of town, away from housing

At Council’s 2019/20 Annual Plan deliberations meeting on 2 June 2020, Council reduced the budget to $50,000 as part of a district wide measure in response to COVID-19, as well as a response to a level of uncertainty around the location of the facility. .

Staff had also concluded that there was no ideal out of town location for a skate facility, due to high costs associated with land purchase, and other access and flooding issues.

Following the concept plan development at the northwest corner of Cory Park, and discussions with surrounding residents, a new centrally located skate facility was proposed. This new location and concept design (to be attached) was informed by a skate park construction company and Tairua skateboard users, in response to surrounding residents’ concerns. A new centrally located facility would provide further distance and buffer from those houses, particularly along Hornsey Road. The new location would provide for the ability to appropriately landscape the skate facility.

The Tairua skate community are investigating numerous funding agencies, including Grassroots, NZCT, Lions, Trillian Trust, Trust Waikato, Tu Manawa, with the intent to contribute a co-funding amount.