Ngai Tahu looks likely to make two aircraft hangars at their Wigram site available for community sports use. A business plan is expected to be presented to the Ngai Tahu board within weeks for the hangars to be upgraded to cater for basketball, netball, futsal, korfball, tennis and the Olympia Gymnastics club.
The facilities will not be used for elite sports nor as a commercial venture but are designed for general community use especially for people in the south-west of the city around Ngai Tahu’s Wigram Skies subdivision.
“There was definitely a need for a facility like this to help ease the pressure on space many indoor sports have been experiencing since the February 2011 earthquakes,” said Kerry Watson, Ngai Tahu’s development manager of special projects.
“The company wants to give something back to the community and feels this is an ideal way of achieving it.”
The aircraft hangars are classified as historic buildings so cannot be materially altered to cater for crowds but they will undergo earthquake strengthening after structural engineers’ reports. A feasibility study on their use was completed in March by Peter Burley, a sport and recreation consultant.
The two hangars are side by side and it is intended that a new reception area will fill the void between them where athletes will enter the complex.
Watson said it was possible an aquatic facility, including a 25m lap pool and a learn-to-swim area, would be built nearby.
Canterbury Basketball general manager Megan Harlick welcomed the likely availability of a new facility. “It would be ideal for delivery of our primary and Hoops Academy programmes which we can’t do at present.”
The CBA continues to operate their interclub competition spread around gymnasiums in the region after the loss of QEII Leisure Park and Cowles Stadium last year.