An indoor aquatic centre, a covered cycling velodrome and a synthetic athletics track are all options on the table as part of a planned redevelopment of the Manukau Sport Bowl.
Auckland Council has released a master plan for the redevelopment, which sets out a number of potential options for the project and will go out for public consultation in April.
The 21ha park is close to both the southern motorway and the Manukau Metropolitan Centre and was originally built in the late 1980s, with its cycling velodrome used to host events at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.
But the facilities were now getting old and run down and coupled with the area’s growing population, Pawan Marhas from the AMMI Athletics Club was keen to see new life breathed into the park.
The club had been based at nearby Rongomai Park since 2017 and its members travelled up to three times a week to Papakura’s Massey Park to train.
Marhas, the club’s coaching director, said building a new synthetic track at the Manukau Sports Bowl would be a great asset that could be used for regional athletics events.
“These are the facilities people really want in the area. It’s such a great space,” he said.
“We need to motivate the youth in the area and use their talents.”
The Manukau Sports Bowl was home to a greyhound racing track, an outdoor cycling velodrome and tennis and basketball courts.
Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board chairman Reece Autagavaia said a previous round of consultation in 2020 showed the public was keen to see an aquatic centre built at the park, along with floodlit sports fields and an athletics track.
But he said it was now vital that local residents looked at the new master plan and provided their feedback.
“We need the people in the community to tell us what they want.”
He said following the public consultation process, a business case would be developed for the project, with more detailed costings.
Autagavaia said the council had sold a lot of property in the South Auckland area as part of its budget cut-backs, and it was important it now reinvested some of those funds in local projects like the Manukau Sports Bowl.
“With this project we’re trying to plan for the next 20 years as the population in the area grows,” he said.
Mayoral candidate and Manukau Ward councillor Efeso Collins said the park and its facilities were in a prime location and it was an important project for the area.
“I’m excited about the planned development and believe the vision should be embraced by the community,” he said.
Collins said funding the project could be difficult and doing it in stages might be the best way forward.