Sports hub will be one of best in country

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Ashburton is less than 10 years away from having one of the best indoor sports facilities in New Zealand.

Ashburton council sports facilities manager Steve Prescott said the EA Networks Centre – already a great facility and the envy of many towns – was about to get a lot better.

Developments earmarked in the council’s 10-year budget include a $5.2m learner pool and interactive splash deck, a $300,000 climbing wall, enclosing and re-flooring the two outdoor courts (making six indoor courts) and associated sports field development (in partnership with stakeholders).

The biggest project, the new pool and splash deck, is earmarked for Year 3 of the 10-year plan.

Details have yet to be finalised, but it is likely the existing glass wall at the western end of the pool area would be fitted with doors and an extension added for a 25m by 10 or 12m pool dedicated for learn-to-swim activities.

The splash desk, similar to the one just opened at the rebuilt QE11 facility in Christchurch, would have a lot of interactive equipment that could easily be changed around.

Mr Prescott said these were very popular. It would include small hydroslides.

He said a dedicated learn-to-swim pool would free up existing pools for other activities.

He said enclosing the two outdoor courts and extending the flooring was set down for Year 7 of the plan, and it was possible, but not certain, the climbing wall could go in then.

Several codes told councillors they did not want the climbing wall in the court area, and Mr Prescott said council would work closely with all groups to ensure needs were met.