Omokoroa locals love their sport and social activities but the lack of a decent pavilion with changing rooms and toilet facilities has been holding the community back for years.
Football teams cannot host home games in the Bay-wide leagues, the local athletics club struggles to hold ribbon days, and tennis tournaments are virtually impossible.
Elderly members of the popular Mahjong club have to cross a gravel driveway and climb stairs to access the existing 30 year-old uninsulated clubhouse that has no heating or internal toilets.
“It’s really not fit for purpose to keep that age group out and about and mobile,” explains Andrea Willoughby, Secretary of the Omokoroa Sports & Recreation Society Inc.
That’s why committee members have spent over four years fundraising $1.6m to build a new sports pavilion in Omokoroa.
Room For All
The final amount needed ($238,000) has been granted by BayTrust from their Community Amenities Fund and construction is now well underway. The new pavilion is due to open in May 2020 and will provide ample space for the various member clubs which include football, tennis, athletics, netball, rippa rugby, indoor bowls, table tennis, cricket, Bridge, Zumba and Tae Kwan Do.[YB1]
The ground floor will provide changing facilities and toilets for men, women and match officials plus three big storage units. Upstairs, a large activity space will cater for indoor groups, alongside a big kitchen and social/dining area.
“Just having somewhere that’s clean, with easy access and plenty of secure storage for sporting equipment will be fantastic,” Andrea says.
“It will be a much better venue for people to come together for whatever activity they do instead of arriving, doing it, and running away home again because there’s nowhere to get changed or socialise afterwards.”
Andrea expects participation rates in local sports and leisure groups will shoot up once the new pavilion opens its doors.
“Our population’s increasing so much. Parents are travelling in that horrible traffic home from work to pick their kids up to take them out to activities. If they can do those activities locally, then it creates a whole lot more quality family time without sitting in the car.”
Omokoroa residents have contributed almost $115,000 through fundraising activities, while the remaining money has been sourced from funding agencies such as TECT, Lotteries, Western Bay Council, the Omokoroa Community Board, Wright Family Foundation and NZ Community Trust.
Andrea says it’s a huge relief to have received the final amount needed from BayTrust, and admits the last four years have been a “hard slog” for committee members.
“For a lot of the older committee members, this project helps ensure we can continue going to activities while also supporting the younger families to come through. For the younger members on the committee, it’s about having good facilities in their own community.”
The Western Bay Council has decided to add a new library to one end of the building which should open a month or two after the pavilion. It will complete the popular and well-used park which also includes a skatepath and adventure playground.
“It’s coming together as a great facility,” Andrea says. “There’s lots of family picnics and birthday parties happening at the park now. Local kids have taken ownership of the skatepath so there’s very limited graffiti and rubbish which is a really good sign for a new pavilion. People are taking care of their local stuff. It’s pretty damn exciting.”