Public responds to stadium use review

Forsyth Barr Stadium. Photo by ODT.
Forsyth Barr Stadium. Photo by ODT.
More than 400 people have had their say on the future use of Forsyth Barr Stadium as a deadline for public input approaches.

The Dunedin City Council launched a review of the stadium earlier this year - when faced with a multimillion-dollar loss by the company running it - and last month called for suggestions from the community.

Council policy analyst Tami Sargeant said when contacted 428 responses had been received by yesterday afternoon, days before Friday's 5pm deadline.

Most of the feedback had come from the council's People's Panel, members of which were sent questions about the best ways to reduce stadium costs, increase revenue and optimise community use, she said.

That had generated 351 responses - representing more than half the panel's 625 members - while another 27 people had used the council's website to share their thoughts, she said.

More than 200 organisations that had used the stadium since opening day last year had also been asked for feedback, resulting in another 50 responses, she said.

The results were yet to be analysed in any detail, but there appeared to be a mix of constructive and critical comments coming in, she said.

"There's definitely some people saying we should never have had it in the first place, but there are some constructive ideas coming through as well.

"We are happy with the responses so far," she said.

A report on the results would be prepared for a meeting of the council's stadium review subcommittee, chaired by Mayor Dave Cull, on November 30.

The report was expected to be made public one week before the meeting, she said.

The review of the stadium and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd was announced in May, after news DVML had recorded a $1.9 million loss in the first half of 2011-12 and construction costs had blown out to $224.4 million.

The bad news got worse late last month, when it was confirmed DVML's full-year loss had reached $3.2 million - $814,000 worse than the $2.4 million loss forecast in May.

The result prompted renewed calls for the council to consider a new events fund to attract more major events to the stadium, and deputy mayor Chris Staynes to suggest a new targeted rate for the city's hospitality sector to pay for such an idea.

Mr Cull said the results showed the stadium's finances were "not sustainable" and underscored the importance of a good result from the stadium review.

"There's all sorts of possibilities that could come out of the review, and I mean all sorts.

"Anything could change," Mr Cull said.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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