Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Good sports

There's a Waterfront Development Subcommittee meeting on tomorrow night, and for once, I'm not going to put myself through all that pain. While there's no single development up for specific debate, this time, feedback is due on the entire draft Waterfront Development Plan, so all the interested parties are having their say.

One thing that's different this time is that the submissions aren't dominated by Waterfront Watch. Oh, they'll be there all right, letting everyone know how appalled they are about everything, but this time it's a different group that's making most of the waves. Of the 633 written submissions (250kB PDF), 604 were about the future of indoor sport given the changes to Sheds 1 and 6; and in particular, most of these called for the ground floor of Site 10 to become the new indoors sports venue, along the lines of what I've also been suggesting.

Site 10 at KumutotoIn this case, I can certainly state that I have no vested interest in the outcome: those who know me can attest that I'm not exactly a sports fiend. The tone of some of the submissions seems a bit extreme to me, especially when they suggest that if they can't play indoor football then everyone will become fat. Competitive sport is not the only way to maintain fitness, and if there were no indoor courts in the CBD, there's nothing to stop people joining a gym, doing yoga or going for a walk. There's a reason why indoor football and netball courts are rare in CBDs: they take up a lot of space compared to more "urban-friendly" methods of exercise.

Having said all that, I've always fully supported the presence of indoor sports in the city, and ever since my first post about the Hilton my support for that development has been dependent on the provision of a suitable replacement venue. Given the right location and urban design considerations (i.e. no more blank sheds) indoor sport should be a valuable part of the mixture of uses that make up the waterfront, and it would be a huge loss to thousands of people if the facilities were not replaced. Right now, while the design and uses of the north Kumutoto buildings are still being determined, this is a unique opportunity to influence the process and show that workplaces and indoor recreation can coexist in a dense urban setting.

It does seem that the powers-that-be are taking this seriously. The consultation feedback document (84kB PDF) states:
A working party consisting of representatives from WWL, the Council and Save Our Sport (SOS) has been established for some time to identify solutions for relocating the indoor sports activity in the central city. It was reactivated when the decision was taken to develop the new indoor sports stadium in Cobham Drive. It meets regularly and is currently considering a number of options for indoor sports, one of which is Site 10 [my emphasis]. This working party will also liaise with the commercial operator that leases Sheds 1 and 6 to understand his plans.
I hope that when they consider "a number of options", they take into account the fact that while Site 10 is just as convenient as Shed 1, anywhere much further north will be too far away for many people. A hotel with bars and restaurants will make much better use of a site like the outer T, but indoor sport at Site 10 will be good for the waterfront as well as for the sporty types who would use it.


At 11:40 pm, August 21, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In an ideal world, there'd be an 8000-12000 seat indoor arena, à la Vector Arena in AKL or Westpac Arena in CHC, somewhere on Harbour Quays or the Cake Tin concourse. Then TSB Arena could be requisitioned for the role Welly Indoor Sports currently serves.

More realistically though, Kumutoto Site 10 looks the best bet. And if the ice rink concept can be somehow integrated, even better. Maybe Harbour Quays would be a better location, but that's for another post.

At 7:23 pm, August 28, 2007, Blogger Zephyr Rovers FC said...

Good to see Waterfront Watch out gunned for once.

At 12:54 am, August 30, 2007, Blogger i_am_sam said...

There are plenty of other ways of keeping fit it the city for sure, private gyms being and obvious one. But in terms of social interaction and community surely team sports like indoor fooball and indoor netball have far greater positive effects and help to make a city like Wellington great. A scattering of private gyms (with mice spinning on wheels plugged into their iPods) compared to the buzz of Shed 1 on a weekday evening?

At 2:31 am, March 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a nice sporting equipment site: http://goodsportinggoods.biz/
This site contains descriptions of different sporting products. It is oriented to the visitors from the U.A.


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