Response to media enquiry from Bay of Plenty Times about the removal of a grass cricket block at Blake Park. The response was attributed to Mark Smith, Manager: Spaces and Places.
In 2015, the Mount Maunganui Cricket Club (MMCC) agreed to move out of their old clubrooms to enable the building of a third hockey turf. Council paid for the demolition of the old clubrooms and relocation of the practice nets, as well as the construction of a grass cricket block between fields 2 and 3 at Blake Park.
Since then, rugby and cricket have cohabited in this area but space has always been an issue with the rugby fields narrower than best practice. The groundsman who maintained the grass wicket block also struggled to provide a quality wicket as it sat in a thoroughfare between the two rugby fields. Despite the best of intentions of all parties, both codes have been compromised.
Council staff have met with MMCC representatives on at least two occasions and consulted with the Western Bay Cricket Association (WBCA) about the ongoing use of this grass cricket block within the Tauranga network. With two more grass cricket blocks provided on the top platform at Blake Park, there appeared to be enough provision for MMCC (other clubs operate with a single grass block), but the WBCA did not wish to lessen the number of grass wickets available within the city’s network.
Increasing pressure on Blake Park for rugby field space for a number of tournaments, including AIMS Games and training space for an increasing number of users, led to the decision to remove the cricket block between fields 2 and 3. A grass cricket block is being built at Alice Johnson Oval in Papamoa to maintain the number of wickets in the network. The new block will be available for the next cricket season.
The term ‘representatives’ refers to the committee/leadership structure that a club forms. These are the people responsible for making decisions on behalf of the club. Please note, since the decision was made the club’s representatives have changed. Council is aware that the new club representatives do not feel there was sufficient discussion, so Council has agreed to set up a working party to discuss the matter further.
The discussion with the club’s representatives and Western Bay of Plenty Cricket Association included:
- The need for three grass cricket blocks at Blake Park
- The ability to relocate a cricket block to another location in the city so the total number of grass cricket blocks was not compromised
- The subsequent need to remove the grass cricket block between fields 2 and 3 at Blake Park to enable two full sized rugby fields.
A significant portion of the embankment was removed to enable two full size rugby fields to be built, with a small portion remaining to retain some large Pohutukawa trees. The shape of this land parcel is not perfectly square so there was little to gain by removing the whole embankment, as the fields could not be moved much closer to Maunganui Road than what has been achieved.