Tauranga City Council has purchased The Warehouse building at 483 Cameron Road which will house four new indoor courts as part of the Memorial Park redevelopment.
The sale went unconditional on Wednesday and Tauranga City Council acting chief executive Paul Davidson says he anticipates the new facility will be up and running later this year which will coincide with the decommissioning of the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre building (which includes Memorial Hall).
“The Warehouse building will be able to accommodate four basketball size courts along with changing facilities, associated storage and office space and, 220 existing car parks,” Paul says.
Council will take possession of the property in early June when the work turning the building into indoor courts will begin.
Council and Bay Venues have together for several years been planning for new indoor court and aquatic facilities at Memorial Park to replace the existing ageing facilities. Funding for this was adopted in the last Long Term Plan.
Paul says while the original plan was to upgrade the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre (QEYC) building, it is nearing the end of its serviceable life and would require a significant upgrade.
“Recent building reports have indicated earthquake risk and structural issues will significantly increase project costs, meaning the best course of action is to demolish the old building (including Memorial Hall) and develop a new facility. At a total estimated cost of $25m including the purchase of the property and fitout of the space as indoor courts, this will be more cost effective than building a new building for indoor courts in Memorial Park.”
Paul says Council is on target to have the new courts available by the end of 2024 to allow limited or no downtime between closing the existing courts at QEYC.
Bay Venues Chief Executive Chad Hooker says staff have been working closely with key indoor court user groups to keep them informed of plans and will engage with them further as the design of the new facility is finalised.
“In addition to this project Council and Bay Venues are currently investigating other new indoor court opportunities over the next 3 to 5 years to cater to growth,” Mr Hooker says.
He says as New Zealand’s fastest growing city, it’s important Tauranga has facilities that can best cater to the needs of our growing population.
Paul says the new indoor facility, and how Memorial Park is used in the future, is being considered within the wider context of all Council’s other reserves, parks, recreational and aquatic centres.
“It forms part of broader plans to work with the community and sports organisations to make our community spaces better and use the spaces we have in the best way possible.
The Mount Sports Centre as an old one court facility will close and be demolished within the next three years as part of improvements to Blake Park and will allow development of more space for field sports at the park,” Mr Davidson says.
Construction on the new Memorial Park Aquatic Centre that was approved by the Commission late last year will also commence after the demolition of the QEYC and is expected to open in late 2027.
This new aquatic centre will include indoor 25m, hydrotherapy, learn to swim and leisure pools. There will also be an outdoor lido pool and hydroslides as well as a café and gym. The new aquatic centre will replace the existing pools in Memorial Park and Ōtūmoetai that are at the end of their life.