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‘Dream’ Bayswater Park options kicked for touch

Flagstaff Team

Dilapidated… A prefabricated building has been suggested as a possible temporary replacement for the Bayswater Park clubrooms

Cheaper options will be sought for the replacement of Bayswater Park’s run-down sports changing rooms, after council staff put forward suggestions ranging from leaving them as they are to demolition and replacement with clubrooms at a cost of $2.7 million.
The cost of renovating the “not fit for purpose” wooden and concrete council-owned buildings that sit side by side at the east end of the park is estimated at $1.5 million.
The Devonport-Takapuna Local Board – which previously set aside $560,000 for an upgrade – sent council staff back to the drawing board to devise cheaper plans after seven options were outlined to members at a workshop last week.
The board also asked staff to meet again with leaseholder North Shore United, which a year ago told the board of the need for an upgrade to meet high park usage by junior and adult football players. In summer, the park is used for touch and cricket.
Board chair Toni van Tonder said the “dream scenario – building new changing rooms, toilets accessible from the exterior and storage facilities, plus a clubrooms equipped with a kitchen – was too expensive.
Without the clubrooms, a new changing facility was estimated to cost $1.9 million, board members were told.
Member Gavin Busch wanted to know why the existing buildings could not be gutted and fixed up more cheaply. “If I got a quote like that for a private project I would just laugh at it.”
Parks and Community Facilities staff wanted a steer on preferences to advance the project, with the hope of starting work next year. They said renovation costs were high, due to the very poor condition of existing buildings, which the football club inherited from a rugby league club.
Neither building was fit for purpose by modern standards, programme manager Neil Atkinson said. Separate shower and toilet facilities were needed for men and women. At present, people entering the wooden building must pass an exposed communal shower area to reach toilets. A corner of the room where there was once a bar had a rotting floor, he said.
The concrete building next door was seismically unsound and would need further investigation and reinforcing. “It’s in a terrible state,” said Atkinson. “The more we’ve delved into it, the more the cost.”
One council idea of trucking in a prefab as a temporary changing rooms for around $400,000 found some favour with board members. A similar approach was taken at Freyberg Park in Browns Bay, where a portable building was expected to last more than 10 years. This would buy time to find budgets for a permanent solution.
Board members repeatedly expressed frustration at the high cost of council getting things done. The money they had tagged for the project has already been eaten into by the cost of council reports.
Council staff suggested just a standalone toilet could be provided.
Van Tonder acknowledged the football club was still waiting for council work to be done on its premier grounds at Dacre Park.
She wondered if the council could pay to remove the old buildings at Bayswater and the club seek grants and fundraise to build under a new ground-holder lease, such as that under which the North Shore Rugby Club operates, owning its buildings on council land.
Rather than a top-down approach, she said staff should again seek the club’s ideas.
Member George Wood wondered if a deal could be struck where the club contributed money to what the board had available. Busch favoured a partnership approach, drawing on skills from tradespeople in the community. The club had offered to help with construction work last year, but none of the council options before the board envisaged this.
Parks and Community Facilities northern manager Sarah Jones said staff would meet again with the club and report back to the board before summer.

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