22 July, 2020
Turf times but community gets run of the green
The community is being invited to Sunnynook Park on Saturday, 26 July to an unofficial opening to celebrate the three-year transformation of it playing fields.
The Auckland Council project has improved playing surfaces and drainage and added lighting, making evening sports practices possible.
“It’s like Disneyland for us,” said Glenfield Rugby League Club chairman Simon Watson of the floodlighting. “We’re training a lot longer and the surface is fantastic.”
After several years of being displaced from its home ground, the club, known as the Greyhounds, is relishing being back on the Sunnynook No. 1 field in front of its club rooms. With three other improved fields, teams from juniors to seniors are again putting the park to good use.
To mark this, an open-to-everyone club day is being held from 9am to 5pm, complete with sausage sizzles, stalls and a bouncy castle. Watson, who is also chairman of the Sunnynook Community Centre committee, has invited members of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board along, with plans for a few words around 10am to mark the opening of the park. Covid-19 put paid to doing this earlier.
Community centre manager Bronwyn Bound said children on its holiday activities programmes had also been making use of the fields when the weather allowed for outdoor play. Around 60 children a day were attending. She had watched the transformation of what was one of the most used parks on the North Shore. “We knew there would be a lot of disruption, but it’s been worth it,” she said.
The playing fields function as a “dry pond” for the area, allowing for water to drain slowly in times of extreme rainfall, thus avoiding flooding further down in Wairau. The council’s Healthy Waters arm ran the project, in which the main field was lowered to enhance this safeguard. Drainage to be improved and better turf laid.
Part of the job saw excavated soil used to raise the playing fields at nearby Wairau Intermediate, providing the school with better grounds as well, which could be used as extra fields for community sport. “So it gives six fields,” said Watson. Bound praised contractor Dempsey Wood’s work on this major part of the project.
Touch and cricket are among other sports which regularly used the park. The placement of the main floodlights on two poles either end of a cricket pitch had confused some people, but these were removable for the summer months, Watson said.
The park includes paths, a playground and ample space for passive recreation. A petanque area may be a future community driven project.
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