Sports club offers site for Covid testing centre

The Lakes DHB's new Covid-19 drive-thru testing centre at Kahukura on Pukuatua St. Photo/File

Kahukura Rugby & Sports Club has leased its Pukuatua St clubrooms to the Lakes DHB and is now the new Covid-19 drive-thru testing centre for Rotorua.

The new testing centre is open from 9am to 4pm this week and from 10am to 2pm on the weekend.
Next week it will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 3pm and on Sunday from 10am to 2pm.

The move has been hailed as a win-win for the district health board and the club, that was hit by a shortened season.
The lease on the former drive-thru Covid-19 testing centre on Vaughan Rd has expired and a monthly extension was no longer an option.
That meant staff had to identify another suitable location, secure a lease and arrange a move quickly.
Representatives from Bay of Plenty District Rugby League also offered its facilities at Puketawhero Park but they were not required.

“We’ve driven around the whole of the city looking for the ideal site,” says Lakes DHB Facilities Compliance Officer Robert White.
“We even had real estate agents advocating on our behalf, but commercial landlords want a more permanent tenant and being associated with Covid-19 was also an issue.”
Robert says when searching for a testing centre venue there were several criteria, including staff facilities, traffic flow and space for queued vehicles.
“One other sports facility would have been perfect but they said no. 

"We were thrilled to be contacted by Jenny Nahu at the rugby league, and Molly White and Ron Preston at Kahukura.
“We’re now able to support a community organisation that is supporting us," says Robert.

"Kahukura has had a hard year with a shortened season; this is a win-win for us both. 

"I want to acknowledge Jenny Nahu too for being willing to help."
He says he and other facilities staff scoured the city from between the airport to Ngongotaha, but most sites were unsuitable due to traffic management.
“The best location we’ve had was the Energy Events Centre but they’re now business as usual. Unless we buy a big field and build a clinic this is our best option.”

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