And then there was light

Left to right, Mike Turinksy, President Marist East Junior Rugby Club Ross Blenkinsopp, Garry Boles, Olaga Epa, and Club Captain Choppa Casey. Kids l-r  Jonny Epa, Epalene Epa and Simiona Epa.

It was a huge safety issue for kids training at the Barry Curtis Park sport fields 5 and 6.

There were a couple of instances when kids almost got run over says Marist East Junior Rugby Club President Ross Blenkinsopp who pushed for floodlights to be installed.

He says he was over the moon when the lights were switched on for the first time last week.

At a cost of around $600,000, the floodlight project is funded from the council’s Barry Curtis Park master plan.

“We as managers of the club pushed for it and are really grateful that the Howick Local Board members championed our project,” he says.

The project, which was fast forwarded, by two years has a two-fold benefit.

“We not only get an opportunity to train more and can start planning more competition matches but it is also a huge benefit to the community that uses the park.

“Earlier parents used to park their cars and put their headlights on high beam for the children to play,” says Mr Blenkinsopp.

“It is also great for the users of the park since it lights up 8km of the walkway which is really dark and a big safety hazard.”

The current focus for the 90-hectare Barry Curtis Park is to enable sports groups to use the southern end of the park with added facilities including toilets and changing rooms.

Howick Local Board member Garry Boles says the new lights, combined with the already sand-carpeted fields at the park, is great news for an area where clubs are crying out for good quality places to train.

Mr Turinsky, Howick Local Board Member for Botany subdivision, is also pleased for the existing clubs that use the ground.

“Last season the Marist Junior Eastern Rugby Club was worried about the health and safety of their kids playing in the dark so approached me with the idea of getting a temporary lighting structure as an interim solution.

“It was a great initiative and it just goes to show how passionate they are about their kids and sport.”