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Community sports hub possible at Burwood Park

By Kyle Knowles for the Christchurch Mail

Shirley Sports Club is investigating taking over an abandoned bowling club for a new community sports facility.

The club has hired consultants to conduct a $30,0000 feasibility study into whether repairing and converting the former Burwood Park Bowling Club’s building and green is affordable.

Board member Steve Barry said initial structural and geotech reports had been positive.

Possible ideas for the site include gym facilities, meeting rooms for the wider community use and an all-weather playing surface that could be covered if enough money is found.

Barry said the facilities would give the club, which combines the rugby and cricket clubs at Burwood Park, a platform for attracting more members and would be used by the whole community.

“It’s about creating a community asset that will support the community’s needs and in doing so generate income to the benefit of all parties associated with the Shirley Sports Club,” he said. “That may not just be cricket and rugby in the future.”

Burwood-Pegasus Community Board member Linda Stewart said getting any new facilities in Shirley would be welcome, as the community had “nowhere to call a community centre”.

Dallington Residents Association president Mark Beanland said he would love to see something in the park.

Plans are still in the initial investigation stage, and the club will need Christchurch City Council approval to change the former site’s use. Under the Burwood Park Management Plan, the bowls club building and green is allowed only for the purpose of bowls.

Shirley Rugby Club president Roger Smith said as long as repairs were affordable, the club would push on with transferring the lease from the former bowls club to the rugby and cricket clubs and changing the land use zoning.

He said Burwood Park was in a good position for developing a community facility as the council looked to develop hubs around suburban centres.