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2018 is an exciting year for sport with New Zealand sending its largest ever contingent of athletes to the Commonwealth Games which is being held on Australia’s Gold Coast. Unfortunately, however, many of those youngsters in Canterbury aspiring to follow in the footsteps of these athletes are still lacking the facilities they need while the Metro Sports Facility project remains on hold at the direction of the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Megan Woods.

As is often the case with such big projects, potential risks were identified in the middle of 2017 but a peer-reviewed solution was requested and delivered to the Minster. Instead of following this advice, the Minister ordered yet another report that confirmed the previous advice that this is the right option.

Canterbury residents have put too much time and energy into this project for the Minister to dither. A lot of time has already been spent identifying what the community required, ensuring that the project fulfilled a wide range of needs, and designing the facility for construction.

The building, if it follows the current design, will be fit-for-purpose and it is expected to be one of the best sporting complexes in the Southern Hemisphere.

This facility will boost community health, continue the revitalisation of our region and provide our high-performance athletes and sports clubs the facilities they need.

The only reason the next phase in August 2017 wasn’t signed off was because it was within the election period, and if authorised, the project would be proceeding by now.

However, it is concerning that ‘cost saving measures’ are reportedly being considered by the Government which will not only downsize this project but also trigger substantial delays.

If money is stripped away from the project it will have huge implications on the facility.

The people of Canterbury, including our emerging sportspeople, are all waiting to see progress on this project and there is no reason for the continued delay.

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