What now for Hornby’s multi-million dollar facility?

Denton Park supporters Lynette Anderson left, Brian Brodie, Marc Duff, Ross Houliston, Lynlea Willan and Mark Peters celebrate at Denton Park. PHOTO: Martin Hunter

The cloud of uncertainty over the future of Denton Park has cleared, but uncertainty still lingers over a multi-million dollar community facility in Hornby.

Denton Park supporters are “ecstatic” over the city council hearing panel recommendation to not use
the park for a community facility.

Save Denton Park treasurer Ross Houliston said he was pleased that the panel listened to residents and hoped this was not the end for the $35.7 million customer service, library, recreation and sports facility proposed for Hornby.

Mr Houliston hoped a new facility could be built on Kyle Park.

“It [Kyle Park] does have issues with contaminated land, a fair bit of the eastern end [of the park] is not contaminated.

“I believe Kyle Park should be remediated. Asbestos has also been found on the surface so the whole piece of ground needs to be done up,” Mr Houliston said.

Steps should also be taken to protect Denton Park “forever”, he said.

The year-long battle took a personal toll, Mr Houliston said.

“It does physically drain you. I’ve got a box of papers probably around four inches deep of research that’s been done,” he said.

Save Denton Park chairman Mark Peters wasn’t present at the hearing but watched a live stream of the event.

He said the group was “completely” in support of having a similar facility in Hornby. “Denton Park has never been the right place to put it,” Mr Peters said.

He also agreed Kyle Park was a potential location for a new facility but also suggested the Sockburn School site, once the school completed its planned move to Wigram Skies.

Greater Hornby Residents Association chairman Marc Duff said a future facility was a major “concern” for the association.

“We’re still desperate to get that [swimming] pool in Hornby and now it’s a matter of us working with the residents and the council staff and ensure we get them,” Mr Duff said.

The hearings panel recommendation not to use Denton Park was made to the Haslwell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board, which would make the final decision.

The proposed facility drew immense opposition from residents after the city council voted in favour of it going on Denton Park in August last

Hearings panel chairwoman, city councillor Sara Templeton, said going through more than 1400 submissions showed that there was a “strong desire” from the community to keep the park for recreation purposes only.

“The main concerns we have are around the traffic issues in the area – this area of Hornby is already at capacity, and like many submitters, we’re concerned that any new development in Denton Park would only increase the congestion,” Ms Templeton said.

Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board chairman Mike Mora said a date is yet to be set for a decision on the park’s future.