Thames Community Sport & Recreation Centre
Since 2002, Zoom Zone has been undertaking consultation, research and lobbying of Thames-Coromandel District Council to promote the development of a community indoor court facility and aquatic centre. Thames High School has been identified and progressed as the site for key development options which include:
- Thames Community Leisure Centre: an indoor one court facility with support amenities located immediately adjacent to the current High School indoor court
- An aquatic facility consisting of a 25m outdoor lane pool with support amenities; and other possible aquatic options, which include an indoor hot water programme pool and fitness centre; and also consideration of an indoor lane pool.
Need for More and Better Recreation Facilities in Thames
A review of the sports and recreation facilities in Thames conducted in 2007 found that the only full size indoor court within the Thames town centre is the gymnasium at Thames High School. The study demonstrated that the potential utilisation of a new indoor court facility was substantial – more than 5,500 hours per year for two courts. Industry benchmarking indicates that a facility should cater for a minimum of 1,500 hours use per court per year which supports the case for at least a two court indoor facility in Thames.
The projections were based on more than 50% utilisation by community groups for activities such as fitness, sports training, and tournaments and the remainder by Thames High School. Potential user groups include basketball, badminton, aerobics, Kiwi-gym, over 50s exercise, volleyball, martial arts, primary schools, indoor bowls and gymnastics.
Thames’ existing aquatic facility, Thames Centennial Pool, was built in the 1960s and has served the people of Thames well. Over the past three years, evidence of subsidence has lead to the Thames Coromandel District Council recognising that the pool has an expected life span of no more than 10 years.
An extensive site evaluation was conducted in 2007. All the potential sites in the Thames area were thoroughly investigated. The short list consisted of Rhodes Park, Danby Field, and Thames High School main campus. Rhodes Park was eliminated because of its flood way designation (Environment Waikato) and Danby Field because of its education designation by the Ministry of Education. Should this designation change then Ngati Maru have made it clear that the land would be treated as surplus to requirements and likely be subject to a Treaty of Waitangi claim. The Thames High School main campus was identified as the preferred site because of its central location and ease of access by both the school itself, two other primary schools, and the general public.
The business case completed in 2009 recommended that the most cost effective way to provide Thames with a two-court facility would be extend the existing Thames High School gymnasium. The addition of a full size indoor court to the existing gymnasium would enable infrastructure such as changing facilities and administration to be shared keeping ongoing operational costs down. Having two courts under would ensure the facility could be used to cater for large groups in one session including hosting events such as sports tournaments.
The current location for Thames Centennial Pool on Taipari Park is not suitable for a replacement facility as the site is an urupa and therefore tapu. Thames High School has agreed to make a site available on its main campus which would be in close proximity to the dry court facility.