Tūparikino Active Community Hub (TACH) – NPDC asks is it time to change the game plan?

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Taranaki’s young sports stars are crying out for more room to play and train, but it’s a big ask on ratepayers during tough economic times.


This is the fifth chapter in a six-week public conversation seeking feedback on five big issues that are important to our district as we work on our draft 10-year Plan.


These are:


Three years ago, NPDC agreed to invest $40 million in building the Tūparikino Active Community Hub (TACH), its contribution to the $91m budget, with the rest coming from Central Government and private groups. It aims to boost activity, wellbeing and equitable access to sport and recreation across Taranaki.


But with costs ballooning to $110m, Cyclone Gabrielle impacting the Government’s coffers and a gloomy economic outlook, is it time to plan for a longer game rather than a quick win as we consider our draft 10-year work programme?


Work was originally set to begin at the New Plymouth Racecourse site later this year, but the turf complex – the first phase of the Hub – has been pushed back.  Construction of the Hub building – the second phase – is still set to start in October 2024, and the remaining construction schedule always depended on what’s doable and when we have the money, but with costs still rising do we need to apply this thinking to the whole project?


Like many other good intentions, the TACH had its budget blown off track by global economic pressures such as inflation, supply chain disruption, material and labour costs and the war in Ukraine, and the costs of recovering from severe weather like Cyclone Gabrielle which struck in February.


“Ratepayers are feeling squeezed and getting less for their hard-earned cash at the supermarket checkout and the petrol pump. With a grim economic outlook, we need to ask, do we need to plan for a longer game?” says NPDC Councillor Tony Bedford.


NPDC knows the need is there and three years ago our residents gave a huge thumbs up to the Hub project, but the world has changed, and we need to focus hard on balancing the need with cutting our cloth to what ratepayers can afford.


Do we need to rescope down to a lower cost estimate or increase our investment for the health and wellbeing of our tamariki and rangatahi?


“In 2019 our regional sports assessment showed our current facilities aren’t meeting the demand for turf and indoor court space. In the last 10 Year Plan conversation, 70% of the submitters supported the need for improved facilities. Unfortunately, it appears we are heading into a period of economic austerity, as such we’re putting it back out there, to ask do we need a reset to look at a more affordable option and if so, what does that look like? Or do we have a responsibility to forge on, if so, what does that look like, and what should come first and why?” says NPDC Councillor David Bublitz.


Every three years, residents help us build our draft 10-year work programme to manage $4 billion worth of assets and $3 billion budget.


Give us a hand by completing this short survey. Everyone who completes it goes into the draw to win one of five $300 shopping vouchers. Find out more at npdc.govt.nz/10-year-plan


Feedback closes 5pm, Wednesday 12 July.