Thames Sports Partnership Project

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A feasibility study into replacement site/s for sports facilities in Thames is in its advanced stages with a number of sites being investigated in detail for new sports facilities, both for long-term and interim options.

These short-listed sites scored high in the assessment and require further, detailed investigation for their suitability.

Investigations required include geotechnical and traffic assessment, infrastructure needed, planning implications for development / zoning and confirmation of carpark requirements. 

The full feasibility study will be reported to Thames Community Board in mid 2024.

Background to the sports partnership project

The feasibility study to assess site options for sports  facilities for Thames aims to address the issue of Rhodes Park sports fields being flooded on a regular basis. The study is focused on assessing the best long-term location and achievability for the provision of sports facilities in Thames.

The feasibility stage involves testing options, analysing costs and understanding benefits.  After that a business case will include a risk assessment, financial analysis of the preferred option and a funding plan for sports facility provision.

The feasibility study comes after extensive public consultation with sports clubs and leaders, Ngāti Maru representatives and a public survey in June 2022 to ascertain community needs and views. 

Long-list and short-list criteria

Key criteria for assessing the long-list are:

  • potential flood risk of any site
  • the size and number of activities possible on the proposed site
  • availability of the site
  • land ownership (e.g. will council need to purchase land)
  • topography of the land (how it affects building possibilities)
  • zoning
  • accessibility (walking and travel distances)
  • visibility of the site.

Additional criteria for assessing a short-list are:

  • cost implications
  • practicality of the site
  • geo-tech; e.g. liquefaction risk
  • sustainability
  • mana whenua input

Our Council staff and consultants Visitor Solutions have consulted Elected Members and sports organisations on the long-list, and are doing further technical research and analysis.

Thames Sports Fields/ Facilities needs assessment

The needs assessment clarified key areas of public concern. 

  • Flooding of Rhodes Park is a major risk - there is positive support for finding the best possible new site that is not at risk of flooding.
  • The quality of existing sports facilities at Rhodes Park is perceived as poor. 88% support improved sport facilities in Thames.
  • Fairness and equity between sports codes is a major issue that needs to be addressed.
  • There is positive support across the codes for a multi-sport hub.
  • Any development must be comprehensive: providing a range of quality facilities and amenities, including playing surfaces, changing rooms, toilets, carparks and transport connections, social space, active space, seating and play amenities.
  • Thames’ population is forecast to become increasingly older and this needs to be considered as part of future sporting provision.
  • Thames low median incomes mean affordability is key, both for ratepayers and users.

Next steps

The feasibility study will be presented to Thames Community Board for adoption in mid 2024.  Following consideration of options and confirmation of the preferred option, the next step is to prepare a business case, including a risk assessment and detailed financial analysis of the preferred option and methods of financing this.