6 September 2017
Central Football has announced the development of a new sport facility for New Plymouth that will support the growth of the game for years to come.
The organisation has recently purchased a 34.22-acre site on the corner of Airport Drive and Devon Road and plans to develop the site over the coming 5 years.
Central Football Chief Executive Officer John McGifford described it as an enormously exciting opportunity for Taranaki footballers specifically and the region’s sports people more generally. “This significant community asset will deliver for our footballers on multiple fronts. The facility will benefit those with an eye on advancing as far as they can on the national or international stage. It will also act as a central development hub for a steadily growing number junior and youth players” he says. “It will further provide an opportunity for a home base for the region’s premier team, Team Taranaki, which has faced significant challenges in not having a permanent and specialist base, and will have the potential to host regional and national tournaments thus contributing to Taranaki’s event tourism profile and the economic development opportunities of event tourism”.
Plans are in place for the base infrastructure to accommodate football but those plans will remain flexible as other opportunities present themselves. So, while the project is football driven Central Football will welcome other compatible sporting codes. “As part of the due diligence process we have already engaged with a number of codes that can see significant benefits in the green field’s development,” McGifford said. “Benefits for many sports include the accessible roading links, which are earmarked for improvement and will transform the usability of the site in an area identified for future growth. Further, the facility’s proximity to the airport has been identified as an advantage in hosting national events”. But the organisation is treading carefully.
“We are very cognisant of the size, scale and cost of a “Rolls Royce” model, so we will be rolling out the development in a structured and sustainable manner. That will include exploring commercial opportunities to support the sustainability of the project and inject revenue into football”. As well as being sustainable, McGifford says the facility must be a great strategic fit for the region.
As part of its due diligence, Central Football engaged SGL Group to develop a feasibility study and consulted widely with parties including the New Plymouth District Council, Sport Taranaki, Venture Taranaki, New Zealand Football, and potential funding and commercial partners. The findings of that report have been further supported by the conclusions of the New Plymouth District Council commissioned Taranaki Regional Sport Facility Strategy and Sport New Zealand/New Zealand Football commissioned Voice of the Participant Survey, as it relates to football membership in Taranaki. “As a result we believe this development will be great for Taranaki,” McGifford commented.
Central Football Chairperson Johanna Wood agrees, but says the organisation is just as focused on improving football across the region, with significant projects planned Federation wide. “Central Football is working on the establishment of artificial turfs in Palmerston North and Napier, and is well engaged with both regions Councils in this respect. It is supportive of and committed to plans for providing more court space for futsal in Hawke’s Bay, where demand outweighs supply, and will be supporting Whanganui Football Incorporated with improvements at Wembley Park. In Poverty Bay the Federation is also committed to planning for future infrastructure improvements. These are all important areas of work and we look forward to supporting and leveraging other opportunities that further the game across the Federation,” Mrs Wood said.
All enquiries regarding this project should be directed to Central Football Chief Executive Officer John McGifford on 0274 335522 or at email@example.com