Facility provides focus for town

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It has taken more than 10 years to develop, but the first games are expected to be played on the indoor courts at Wanaka’s newly opened $30 million sports facility tomorrow.
Members of the public will get a chance to view the Wanaka Recreation Centre in the Three Parks subdivision when open days are held this weekend.
The $15.87 million first stage consists of indoor sports space that can be adapted to provide two basketball courts, two netball courts, two tennis courts, three volleyball courts and four badminton courts, along with tiered seating for up to 250 people.
The complex also has changing rooms, toilets and showers plus a meeting room and can host groups of up to 600 people.
Next year it will be the venue for a Rotary Club conference.
Future additions include an artificial hockey turf and netball and tennis courts while the new swimming pool is scheduled for completion in September 2017.
On Thursday, Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Vanessa van Uden and Deputy Mayor Lyal Cocks shared ribboncutting duties at the opening.
Wanaka Community Board chairwoman Rachel Brown said the town itself was a recreation centre, defined by its lakes, rivers and mountains that provided a raft of recreational opportunities.
‘‘But this is a new focus where the community can come and play and build new skills,’’ she said.
Upper Clutha sports community co-ordinator Bronwyn Coers said the centre had taken about 10 years to bring to reality but a new sporting heart had started to beat.
‘‘Sport needs to be accessible, inclusive and affordable to all.
‘‘The best heart is a sportsbased heart but it needs to be energised and this is what we have here,’’ Mrs Coers said.