Stadium may get new turf

A proposal to replace the mixed grass turf inside the Forsyth Barr Stadium with a full artificial turf - at an estimated cost of $1 million - will be considered by a Dunedin City Council subcommittee examining changes to the year-old venue.

However, the idea has prompted a warning from Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief executive David Davies, who said it could make it harder to attract All Blacks tests and some other top-level sports fixtures.

Cr Lee Vandervis, a member of the council subcommittee, told the Otago Daily Times he would be pushing for the change "very strongly" when the subcommittee met. It was an idea he had raised previously.

The subcommittee would reconvene later this year to consider results of a review of the stadium's operation, as well as other suggestions to improve the venue's use.

The stadium uses the Desso GrassMaster system, in which natural turf is reinforced with millions of plastic fibres. It was funded by community grants totalling $655,000.

The turf is designed to be used three times as often as normal grass. It is used at hundreds of stadiums worldwide and has helped Dunedin's stadium earn rave reviews from players.

However, Cr Vandervis claimed it was also placing "severe constraints" on the venue, and a full artificial turf would cut maintenance costs, while allowing more community use of the venue.

"We could use it every day and not have to worry about the turf."

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, the chairman of the subcommittee, said there would "clearly" be merit in the proposal, if a surface could be found that suited all sporting codes, cost less to maintain and gave more flexibility.

However, the cost of any change, and whether it would be suitable for international rugby, as well as other groups, needed to be considered.

"I don't think it's a silly question at all, but I think you then have to follow on and say what would it mean?"

The proposal would be considered by the subcommittee, along with the views of other stakeholders and the public, before recommendations were presented to the council, Mr Cull said.

That work was expected to begin "in the next month or so".

"The subcommittee would have to satisfy itself that there were more benefits than downside."

Mr Davies said the stadium already catered for "significant" community use, and although it was "undoubtedly true" an artificial turf could increase that, other costs also needed to be considered.

Those included installation costs and ongoing maintenance costs, which would need to be the subject of a council feasibility study.

"I've looked after plastic pitches previously, and they aren't without maintenance costs.

"There is a requirement for them to be kept properly, to make sure that the surface is kept up to scratch."

Some events could also be discouraged from using the venue, he warned.

"I don't think anybody in the NRL, for example, plays on a plastic pitch. I'm not sure any of the All Blacks' major games are played on plastic pitches."

NZRU staff were not willing to comment yesterday, but pointed to International Rugby Board regulation 22, which allowed artificial surfaces to be used, provided steps were followed to ensure required standards were met.

That included testing the playing surface before use, regular maintenance and retesting to ensure standards were maintained.

The IRB's Law 1 also stated playing surfaces should be grass, but could also be clay, sand, snow "or artificial grass", and neither regulations nor laws prevented international rugby on artificial surfaces.

New Zealand already has eight artificial surfaces used for rugby, but only up to premier club level.

Otago Rugby Football Union general manager Richard Kinley said he did not know much about artificial turf technology, but believed the idea "would make good sense" if grass surfaces could be replicated.

Cr Vandervis raised the idea earlier this year, during debate over a dedicated artificial turf for football at Logan Park - part-funded by Fifa - and a separate multipurpose turf for other codes.

The council had opted not to fund either, although potential sites for both had been identified.

Football South general manager Bill Chisholm, who backed the Logan Park plans, said having one inside the stadium would "certainly help" the sport, and could be completed for about $1 million.

However, he questioned whether it would suit rugby, and said Fifa would not help fund the initiative unless it was dedicated to football.

"Fifa are not going to put their money into something that's for general use. We would have to control it."




Continual maintenance

I drive past every day.  Not one day since the closure has the pitch looked in any less than pristine condition.

Carisbrook turf

Is it intended that NZ or South Africa use Carisbrook as a training venue ahead of the test match on 15 September? Pure speculation on my part, but it would seem a logical explanation.

I stand by my description

Max, I stand by my description. I made a special trip to Carisbrook last Friday at 12pm to conform its up to the moment condition before I made the posting.  I could not get in, but I had a good look at it.  The grass was immaculate and the posts were in - strange indeed if, as you claim, it has been brought back to this condition.


Last time I went past Carisbrook it was a mess. A few thousand seats had been taken, the turf was overgrown, the goal posts had been sold and some of the stands were starting to fall down. Strange that in a few days it has had a miracle of a turnaround.

Have you looked at Carisbrook recently?

Talking of paying for turf, have you commentators looked at Carisbrook recently?  This is  a structure that supposedly hosted its last major game a year ago and is slated for sale and demolition.  However, as of 12.00 yesterday, the turf was immaculate and combed and a set of gleaming white full size rugby posts were in place.  The whole place is immaculately clean outside and all the windows are squeaky clean - indicating a similar state of affairs inside. 

You could hold a rugby test in the place tomorrow.  Given that maintaining a 25,000 plus rugby stadium in 'ready to go' condiition for a year is not a cheap process (and is being paid for by the ratepayer in some way). One has to ask - Why is this happening?  Has the ORFU really gone from this place for good?

They can pay for the turf

Once again, the onus is on the city to find solutions for 'making the stadium work' and not on those who mainly use it. Namely rugby. They should pay for any artificial turf-if that decision is made. Not us. Not one more cent, Lee/ DCC.

I could concede if..

I could concede if The Wurzels" as well at the "The Chaps" were on the bill. oo arr oo arr

Dear Mr Smith...

Thank you for highlighting the potential acoustic problems of the bagpipes providing supporting music to WCD Championships. I must admit I do prefer the underwater version of bagpipe marching band music. Perhaps a West Indian calypso band would be more appropriate.

The Cloggies

These jokes about clog dancers disrespect Dutch and Mancunian tradition.. You would be surprised what a good gig it could be, like Lord of the Clogs, with 'The Chaps" accompaniment.

The turf ain't growing

This is why it needs to be replaced but they haven't told us that yet. It's clearly obvious from the new media room that has just been built at our expense. Oops. They haven't told us about that either.

'Clog-dancing' indeed!

Might I remind 'The Highlander', that with a stretch of the imagination, 'clog-dancing' might be possible; but given the dire accoustics of the Stadium, the bagpipes are going to sound just as ghastly as they do at any other time and place.

Dollar auction...

Maybe the DCC could get some artificial turf off of TradeMe.

But seriously, I realise Lee is looking at the big picture as far as long term costs go, but I really don't like this idea at all. From the non committal noises they are making, it sounds like it would be the perfect 'out' for the rugby cheap skates.

WCD championships

Lee's real reason for wanting the artificial turf is to hold the world clog dancing championships.

Turf Digest

Snoot, not any old artificial turf is weatherproof. In Greymouth, they have Astroturf. No more boggy playing field. So Logan Park open to all weather could go Astro.

Us silly nay-sayers, eh?

Ahh, look another problem (and cost) "nay-sayers" like me predicted.


New turf for stadium

In regard to the new artificial turf proposed for the stadium, I can only say: how about turning a profit first before spending even more money? Unbelievable doesn't quite describe the internal workings of the DCC. I mean this building, turf and all, is barely 13 months old and was meant to be state of the art! What is gong on?

The turf isn't hallowed, by the way.

These people are out of control, and this has to be stopped. The ratepayers have to should the burden of this debt, all in name of sport.There was nothing wrong with Carisbrook - it only needed minor repairs and was truely hallowed ground. But what did we get? Huge debt that will impact on future generations.

Better plan

Just another million dollars, Lee. I thought you of all people would be against this waste of rate payer money

Heres a better plan: Let's just sell it to the university and they can deal with it. And move the rugby back to the real stadium where it used to be 

Cunning plan

What a cunning plan. Change to artificial turf, the rugby people say it is unsuitable, after all the rugby stadium is given the heave ho by the boys as they now have the perfect excuse to shrink the number of franchises around the country, and we are left worse off... till this forces the stadium's closure.... which then makes us all better off. Go for it!

Dunedin's Disney World

Well, we could go one step further than just changing the turf surface.  We could convert the entire inside of the Stadium to the world's first indoor Disney World.  The turf area could be converted to all sorts of sports activities - mini golf, bumper car rides, donkey rides, house of horrors, buskers, flea market stalls, you name it, it can all be catered for.  The previous seating areas and corporate boxes can be converted to shops, training steps, health gyms and bungee jumps, and as I said before, you name it, it can all be catered for. 

This would become like a monstrous mall with protection against the elements all year round.  So that we don't miss shopping or hanging around in George St and the Octagon too much - we could also have a street down the centre of what was once the field and boy racers could be encouraged to drive down this street slowly and every now and then accelerate to 80km per hour for 20 metres at a time just metres from spellbound families with children and uninterested police officers.

What would we do without a sense of danger in all this?  We could also have a foul smelling bus service down this centre street too. This would add a bit of nostalgia to the whole experience.  We are only limited by our imagination.

Here we go again!

Here we go again, back in 'Just another million' mode, while at City Hall they've probably been told to indulge in futile practices such as cutting back on paper-clips and using both sides of paper, (hopefully not of the toilet variety). Have we taken leave of our senses totally? 

We were informed, only about twelve months ago, that the natural turf was one of the technological marvels of the age, so why not stick with it? The only dubious benefits of artifical turf, are that more intensive use may be made of the stadium by those groups least able to afford to pay for the privilege, meaning that, the haemorhage of money gathers momentum. If the stadium was intended, from the start, to be a fully ratepayer funded amenity, as I think that the more astute of those pushing for it, knew it was bound to be, why were they not honest enough to say-so? Conclusion: we've been conned to the limits of our capacity and tolerance.......and we have had 'enough'! 

if only

Great idea. Artificial is the way to go in terms of getting the most out of the venue. Too bad the money isn't there.



NO way!

Get real

This is a stupid idea, and interestingly this is put forward by an antistadium councilor. There is no problem with the turf as it is so why replace it?

Wear out the old stuff first

Another million dollars for professional sport? is there a problem with growing grass indoors? Mr Farry assured us there wouldn't be so let's wear out the existing turf before we spend any money on fake stuff. Even then let's make sure that rugby pays for their new turf the ratepayers have already paid enough.

Since are already subsidising each and every rugby ticket at the stadium let's make stopping that subsidy a condition on any more stadium expenditure - the rugby people know what they need to do to stop sponging off of us, it's very simple, charge enough for rugby tickets to cover the ratepayers' costs.


Most ridiculous idea I've heard this year regarding the stadium.

The only ideas that Councillors should be having about the stadium are how to shut down its cost structure to avoid losing more ratepayer money.

It is long, long overdue for Council to be dissolved and a Commissioner appointed, as was done in Kaipara.  This is misuse of authority and ratepayer money. 

Artificial turf?

Kind of makes the roof pointless then?

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