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Bay of Plenty Cricket Trust


Cricketers and hockey players reject move

Mount Maunganui cricket and hockey players have been called "the mouse that roared" after they vetoed an attempt to shift them into the planned new cricket pavilion at Blake Park's cricket oval.

The 400 members of the Mount Maunganui Cricket and Hockey Society have undone months of work between their executive and the Bay of Plenty Cricket Trust to develop a memorandum of understanding in which the society shifted into the new pavilion.

Cricket fans line the embankment at the Bay Oval, Blake Park - Chris Callinan / File

Cricket fans line the embankment at the Bay Oval, Blake Park - Chris Callinan / File

The Tauranga City Council required the development of the memorandum before it approved construction of the pavilion.

However, it was undone when the society's rank and file met to consider the memorandum. Society vice-president Bill Webb said the "resounding message" was that members wanted to stay in their existing clubrooms. The bad news was relayed to a meeting of the city council this week.

Members opposed shifting into the new pavilion because it did not face on to their cricket wickets and they would be denied use of the lounge if a first-class cricket match was being played on the oval or the oval was booked for non-sporting uses.

With the ground lease for its clubrooms expiring in eight years and the area earmarked for hockey, Mr Webb asked that the top-storey lounge portion of the clubrooms be shifted to a site overlooking two nearby club cricket fields. Players would use the council-funded toilet and changing rooms portion of the planned new pavilion.

Mount councillor Wayne Moultrie described the decision of the society's membership as "the mouse that roared".

He said the society's membership, which did not have the same depth of knowledge as their management, had said no to the memorandum. He said the lease should not be renewed when it expired in 2019.

Cr David Stewart agreed, saying that it was an ideal opportunity for the society and the trust to get together to make a success of the pavilion. Blake Park had reached saturation and the council should not comprise its uses.

"Sports clubs need to work together and should work together."

However, Cr Larry Baldock argued that the Bay of Plenty Cricket Trust and the clubs were not a good fit. To place local clubs in a position where they could lose their home after 2019 was deplorable. "It's not cricket."

Cr Tony Christiansen said that forcing the society in with the trust was not giving them any choices whatsoever. Cr Terry Molloy said it was not a marriage of convenience.

The council reached a compromise in which the society could stay in its clubrooms until 2019, after which the lease would be renewed each year for 10 years, or until the area was required for more hockey fields. The opportunity for the second storey to be shifted elsewhere would be investigated. Mayor Stuart Crosby said it was a practical way forward and gave everyone time to come up with a good solution.