Ratepayers count the cost of McLean Park cricket pitch crane

Work to insert trays for portable pitches began at McLean Park in 2018. Photo / NZME

The Napier City Council has spent $450,000 buying and then maintaining a cricket pitch-lifting crane, which appears to have spent much of the past four years sitting idle.

Details obtained by Hawke’s Bay Today under the Local Government Information and Meetings Act reveal the council bought the crane for a GST-inclusive $188,600 during McLean Park ground redevelopments in 2018.

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Its purpose was to transport drop-in cricket pitches from the nursery at Nelson Park and into a tray at McLean Park.

But the council has since spent more on maintenance bills for work on the crane ($276,000 since 2018) than it did on the crane itself.

Work on the portable pitches, to make them ready for use, has also cost ratepayers $53,400 since 2018.

The council has been reluctant to discuss with Hawke’s Bay Today the length of time in which the crane was not operational.

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A statement was received from a council spokeswoman on November 11 which said: “I can confirm the crane is in working order and will be used next at the end of January. The intention is to use it more in the future.”

“The crane was purchased secondhand from Christchurch around the time of the McLean Park re-turf in 2018. Not long afterwards its frame was reinforced, followed by an upgrade of its hydraulics.

“Council is investigating whether there are any other changes or upgrades which could be made to further improve its efficiency.”

Portable pitches began being cultivated at Nelson Park in 2016. Photo / NZME
Portable pitches began being cultivated at Nelson Park in 2016. Photo / NZME

The issue of McLean Park’s portable pitches is understood to be a sensitive one in cricket circles, with sources unwilling to discuss it on the record.

The ground retains natural turf pitches on its wicket block. These pitches have been used to stage recent international and domestic cricket matches.

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Whether that is because the crane has been unable to insert portable pitches remains unclear.

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