No slam dunk for Council on Orewa court

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Hellen Wilkins is frustrated that a simple request for minor maintenance on the Orewa basketball court has turned into one agenda item after another.

It sounded like a simple request – Destination Orewa Beach (DOB) asked Auckland Council to paint new lines on the Orewa beachside basketball court, near the surf club. That was last December.

“Initially, we were told, ‘This was not in the scheduled work programme; it was hoped to be able to add this to the lengthy list of extras’,” DOB business association manager Hellen Wilkins says.

In February, new lines were painted, but shortly after, the basketball hoops were removed.

“So, in July we requested new hoops and were told, ‘It would be tabled for a Local Board meeting with costs for design and installation to be approved’.”

When the hoops had still not appeared in August, DOB offered to pay for them.

“Surprise, surprise – our request to fund the hoops needed to be, ‘An agenda item at the September Local Board meeting’, but it made us optimistic of getting the hoops up before Labour Weekend.”

But then DOB was advised, ‘… that design of the hoops will be discussed at the next (November) Board meeting and install should be by Christmas’.

Hellen says DOB is offering to pay for the hoops, manage the safe and professional installation, and yet it still can’t make any progress.

“So, 11 months after our initial request, and probably several thousands of dollars of staff time spent discussing the replacement of the hoops, there is still an unusable basketball court. This has passed from the frustrating to the ridiculous.

“The Hibiscus & Bays Local Board has done its best to help, but even their hands are tied in this cumbersome Council process.”

When Council was asked to explain why the “design” of the hoops was an issue, renewals manager Mark Townsend said the hoop referred to the whole structure – the concrete foundations in the court, the steel pole, backboard and hoop.

“There are a range of basketball hoops available with varying designs and warranties that range from five to 25 years,” he said.

“The Local Board is due to discuss this at its next business meeting on November 17 and Destination Orewa Beach has been advised of this process.”

Board member Caitlin Watson says it is important to realise that replacing the hoops is part of a full court renewal. She says she first approached Council about the condition of the court early last year.
“The length of time it has taken to progress full court renewal work from when it was first raised, is in part due to the large list of renewal projects in the area,” Caitlin says. “It is also a result of the slow processes that can prevail within Council, which sees delivery delayed.

“There needs to be improved responsiveness to these issues as facilities like these matter a great deal to the community. This basketball court is a prime facility for youth.”

She was confident the hoops would be installed in time for summer.


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