20 Mar 2013

Cities ban pre-season sports training on grass

9:15 pm on 20 March 2013

No pre-season winter training will be allowed on any grass sportsfields in Wellington city and the Hutt Valley.

The ban is part of a region-wide attempt to protect sportsgrounds.

The Hurricanes and other top-level teams could be among those forced onto artificial surfaces.

The Wellington City Council's manager of parks, sport and recreation, Paul Andrews, says the long spell of dry weather, coupled with a recent ban on irrigation, has left many fields rock-hard.

Any training will ruin field surfaces for the winter season, he says, and the council is also conscious of player safety.

The Porirua City Council says its sportsfields won't shut completely but they will be carefully monitored.

Meanwhile, the Wellington council is seeking emergency resource consents to take water from a disused reservoir to irrigate sportsfields and set up an outdoor ice rink on the waterfront.

The consents are for water to be taken from the disused Karori reservoir at the Zealandia wildlife sanctuary.

A Wellington company, Wellington Waterfront Ltd, says it's confident the decision to have the temporary ice rink in the capital from next week until May is defensible despite water restrictions across the region.

Water from the Wainuiomata and Hutt river catchments is again being treated for use in the region's water supply. Rain during the past few days had temporarily made it too dirty to treat.