Better facilities are on the way for Pukekohe’s cricketers and footballers.
Bledisloe Park is home to the town’s thriving 500-member Pukekohe Association Football Club and the equally successful 280-member Metro Cricket Club.
But growing numbers brought about by the population growth throughout Franklin have put pressure on facilities and now Auckland Council is launching an extensive project that will increase usable hours at the park.
Lighting, drainage and irrigation will all be improved, with extensive sand-carpeting also planned.
Franklin Local Board chair Andy Baker says the growth taking place in the region means heavy demand on sports fields will continue.
“As a board, we are committed to having a healthy community that gets out there and stays fit and active. We all know about the benefits taking part in sport brings, not only on a physical level but also in terms of building a sense of belonging and community.
“We want that to continue and for it to do so, we have to make sure we have facilities that are fit for purpose. Part of our plan to make that happen is to ensure we can make the most of the assets we already have, so adding lights will mean the fields can be used more often and for longer.”
Plans for the field include fixed light towers along the Harris Street side of the park and non-permanent towers in the centre of the park in the area between the football field and cricket wickets.
Those towers would be moved during the summer season when the demand for lighting falls, and to provide the wider spaces needed for cricket.
Work is expected to start in October and Baker says while it is inevitable some disruption will occur, it’s a case of short-term pain for long-term gain.
“When the diggers roll in so we can channel for the lighting, we’ll also undertake widespread drainage work that will improve conditions for both codes, and sand-carpeting that will run right up to the bowler’s approaches on the cricket wickets,” he says.
Work is expected to be completed by May and similar projects designed to increase the playing hour capacity at other Franklin sports fields are planned for Grower’s Stadium in Pukekohe and Te Puru at Beachlands.
“It’s essential we make sure we also have good facilities around high growth areas such as Beachlands, which is growing quickly and will benefit enormously from more hours, and longer-term the board is committed to seeing Karaka Sports Park fully developed over time.”