The installation of two basketball hoops at an Omaha tennis court is causing friction with residents who live nearby.
Jenni Marsh and Gillian Williams both live next to the courts in Tuna Place and say the popularity of the hoops has led to an unacceptable increase in noise, inappropriate behaviour and bad language.
“It’s become really busy, last summer was insane,” Gillian told last month’s Rodney Local Board meeting. “When it’s 7.30am to 7.30pm, you’re a little bit over it. They were playing at 9.30pm the other night.”
She said their main issue was that neighbours hadn’t been consulted before the hoops were installed, and that local recreation facilities were supposed to be spread evenly throughout the three tennis courts in South Omaha – Tuna Place, plus the Pukemateko Reserve at 179 Mangawhatiri Road and the Manuhiri Reserve at the end of Taumata Road.
“We think one hoop should be moved to one of the other courts and all three courts should have one hoop. Then you have got three areas to serve the whole community. A single hoop is less intrusive, you don’t get big groups of teenagers, and it’s more manageable.”
Omaha Bay Residents Society (OBRS) chair Bruce Coombes admitted there had been problems when the basketball hoops were first installed.
“The contractor didn’t put a gate on, there was no lock, they were new,” he said. “That first Christmas was the sunniest for three years and five of the neighbours are Bookabach or Airbnbs – there was a lot of pressure on a new toy.”
He said there was now a locked gate with a keypad and there were plans to deadlock the courts at 8.30pm this summer, but OBRS wasn’t convinced that simply removing one hoop and having one at each court was the ideal solution.
“If we remove one hoop, the pressure will be on the other hoop. Kids won’t go away, they’re just going to wait,” he said. “It’s not going to take the pressure away from that court. The ideal place for other hoops would be at the community centre and the middle reserve (Pukemateko).”
He added that consultation with South Omaha residents over the hoops had resulted in 75 positive responses and only 14 objections, but said OBRS was working with Council and objectors to find the best solution.
Board member Tessa Berger said it was incredible to see a community asset so well used, but she supported strategic discussion with Council to find a solution to the “load and capacity issues”.
Council land use advisor Raewyn Sendles said it was a good outcome for the courts to be so well used, and by adults as well as children, but noise was an issue which could be addressed via a strategic assessment.
“It’s an outcome from living alongside a recreation area and a change from tennis to basketball,” she said. “But it’s a fantastic facility and good to see it being used like that.”
Members voted to request the Parks, Sport and Recreation department carry out a strategic assessment for basketball sites at Omaha, which will be included in the department’s work programme in the 2020/2021 financial year.