The potholed and waterlogged playing fields at Hawera's Hub complex may take up to two years to come up to scratch, turf experts say.
But one of New Zealand's leading stadium turf managers says the South Taranaki District Council should have expected top quality for the reported $700,000 cost.
The grounds have been plagued with rock and rubble problems in the soil, and last weekend after heavy rainfall, parts of the main ground were under centimetres of water.
The council hired Mike de Malmanche of Greenfield Turf in Palmerston North, as consultant during the preparation. He said in 32 years as a sports turf contractor he had been involved in many constructions and reconstructions of sports fields and the grow-in periods required to meet the standards and expectations.
"In most cases the period of time to meet these standards and expectations would be 12 to 24 months," he said yesterday.
Mr de Malmanche was called in after turf germination to advise on grow-in and said the council appeared to have taken all the advice he had given on that issue.
He advised the council to employ laser levelling on the surface to avoid undulations.
"At one stage I gave them the price to do the laser levelling but that just didn't happen," he said.
One of New Zealand's top stadium turf managers, who did not wish to be named, said for the $700,000 the council had spent it could have got a sand pitch with excellent drainage.
He said for that kind of money it should have been laser levelled to plus or minus five millimetres.
"One hundred and fifty millimetres - that's 15 times as much. So to have 150mm would be totally unacceptable," he said.
Sports turf adviser from the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute Brendan Hannan agreed that it would take one to two years to get the field's surface and drainage up to the full specifications.
However, he said the undulations in the field were a "different story" and also said variations of 150mm were unacceptable.
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