By DAVID HILL
With the Mainpower Stadium now open for business, the North Canterbury Sport and Recreation Trust is looking ahead to its next big project.
Nearly 4000 people braved wintry conditions to attend Sunday’s official opening.
After accepting the keys to the brand new $28 million, 6000 square metre multi-use facility on Coldstream Road from Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon, trust chairperson Don Robertson revealed plans for a new stadium in Kaiapoi.
In his address, Mr Robertson said the trust was hoping to partner with the council to build a new sports facility in the former red zone, which would include North Canterbury’s main indoor cricket centre.
“If you’re from Kaiapoi, we encourage you to talk to your local councillors and let them know you want them to support it,” he told the crowd.
Six Olympians at the Tokyo Olympic Games had come through the trust’s programmes and scholarships and Mr Robertson was confident the new MainPower Stadium would produce a new generation of sports stars. “This is a game changer for the community, it’s state of the art and it’s cutting edge technology.”
Mr Gordon recalled the journey which led to Sunday’s official opening was a long one.
“I remember this being discussed when I first came on to council in 2004. It’s taken a long time, but as it cost $28 million, every detail had to be thoroughly scrutinised and events like the earthquakes came along and we had to focus on other things. “Good things take time.”
He recalled it was literally “life and death” around the council table, with Cr Robbie Brine discharging himself from hospital after major surgery to ensure the stadium vote got across the line.
North Canterbury Sport and Recreation Trust chief executive Michael Sharpe said the stadium will cater to all ages. “It’s going to be a real hub from 2-year-olds to over-90-year-olds, not only in sport from grassroots to national sportspeople through to fitness and wellbeing and health.”
The new facility has four large basketball courts, with scope to build another two as the region’s population
The courts are marked out for basketball, netball, volleyball, korfball, futsal and badminton, being played on the latest technology sprung floor.
There are blinds which can be pulled to separate the courts, automated blackout curtains for glare, the hoops have the latest technology and there is seating for 500 people, with additional mobile seating for another 200.
The fitness centre comprises a turf running track for speed tests, Prama or ‘‘gamified exercise’’, rowing machines,assault bikes and the latest training equipment.
A 3D scanner is also available, which takes 1200 photos of the body in a short time to test body fat, posture and balance.
The new facility is nestled in a growing sports hub, including the MainPower Oval cricket ground, Rangiora Showgrounds, hockey turf, football grounds and a new 10-court
tennis facility is being built next door.
‘‘It’s a real hub for not just Rangiora, but the whole of North Canterbury,’’ Mr