Feedback from Ōtaki youth shape basketball court’s location
Council will be building a basketball court at Haruatai Park this year following feedback from the town’s young people.
Ōtaki Community Board approved a keyhole-sized or half-court basketball facility to be built on the lower level of the park at its meeting last week [15 March].
Board chair James Cootes says as well as considering a range of possible sites for a new court in Ōtaki, feedback was also sought from youth about the three existing basketball courts in town – in Matai Street, Domain Road and Haruatai Park.
“We know young people in Ōtaki are keen for more permanent basketball facilities and we’ve taken on board their feedback that they support this being at Haruatai Park,” he says.
The consultation also revealed the existing court at Haruatai Park was not big enough to play a game of three-on-three basketball and a keyhole-sized court would be more suitable and popular.
“Haruatai Park is central, easily accessible and close to key shopping areas, schools, kura kaupapa and colleges,” Mr Cootes says.
“It’s already a destination park that pulls people to Ōtaki and breathing some life back into the basketball facilities there will enable the park to become even more of a social hub for young people and the community as a whole.”
Collaboration about the specifics will continue over the coming weeks as construction plans and the exact site in Haruatai Park is finalised. If additional feedback shows the existing location is preferable the current court will be extended, or if youth prefer a different site within the lower level of Haruatai Park a new court will be built.
“There’s money in this year’s budget for a basketball court, we’re committed to making this happen and we want to continue working with the local young people because we’ve really enjoyed their leadership and ideas as part of the process already,” Mr Cootes says.
“We’re aware that some wanted a court at Ōtaki Beach but one of the biggest challenges there was stopping seagulls dropping shells on the courts.”
Overhead nets were considered and but were found to be too expensive.
“With the help of council staff we’ve managed a win-win by installing another hoop at the old skating rink at Marine Parade at the beach, which is the site where a group of teens painted their own basketball court lines,” Mr Cootes says.
“The make-shift court is a great example of youth innovation in Kāpiti and being able to support that initiative by council providing a hoop is a great solution.”