Millions more for stadium

Millions of dollars of ratepayers' money is set to be poured into shoring up Dunedin's struggling Forsyth Barr Stadium, but the city's crumbling coastal defences will also receive a boost, the Dunedin City Council has signalled.

The decisions - subject to final confirmation - came as councillors considering the 2014-15 draft annual plan yesterday sought to keep the forthcoming rates rise below 3%.

However, supporters of a long-awaited South Dunedin library will have to wait a little longer after councillors balked at the cost of a temporary ''shop front'' library suggested as a stop-gap measure for the suburb.

Instead, councillors voted to spend $95,000 on a new interim risk management plan as part of an ongoing push to hold back pounding surf and coastal erosion at St Clair.

The money would pay for ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the sea wall until plans for a permanent fix could be discussed in more detail next year.

However, Cr Neville Peat was quick to warn yesterday's meeting at least one of the long-term solutions could be contentious, as construction of an offshore groyne - designed to dissipate incoming waves - would ''ring alarm bells'' for surfers.

The idea was among potential options canvassed for the council by Opus International Consultants, but no proposals were yet on the table, council infrastructure and services general manager Tony Avery stressed.

The discussion came after councillors earlier voted to pump another $3.6 million from council savings into Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, the company running the stadium, in the coming financial year.

The decision - accepted reluctantly by some councillors but opposed by Cr Lee Vandervis - included a one-off, $2.21 million contribution to repay DVML debt.

It also included a $715,000 increase in the annual ratepayer contribution to the stadium company and a continuation of the $725,000 annual payment originally intended to repay stadium debts over three years.

Those payments would together cover DVML's forecast $1.440 million loss forecast for 2014-15, while work continued on a major review of the stadium's financial and operating models, the results of which were expected midyear.

However, DVML chief executive Terry Davies tried to put the losses in context yesterday, telling councillors an unpublished analysis showed stadium events had contributed $45 million to the Dunedin economy since 2011.

The full report was expected to be published with results of the stadium review, he said.

Councillors voted to approve the extra funding despite the barbs of Cr Vandervis, who criticised DVML's performance.

''They are supposed to be a council-controlled organisation, and are completely out of control,'' he said.

The council also voted to continue the Warm Dunedin home insulation scheme for another year, prevent new tenants in council flats from smoking inside, and investigate alternative heating sources for Moana Pool.

However, an earlier plan for a temporary ''shop front'' library in South Dunedin was shelved while work on a permanent facility continued, after council staff confirmed it could cost $360,000 a year to run.

Deliberations on the 2014-15 annual plan continue today.



Sound decision. Keep up the good work you have my vote

When will the bill be paid ?

Can anybody from anywhere including the DCC say in which year it is expected that the total stadium construction costs will be fully paid off, and what is the full amount including interest expected to be ? There must be a long-term plan out there somewhere ? Anyone ? Anybody ? Council? Cull? DVML? Bidrose? Farry? ORFU? NZRFU? Chin? Nostradamus?


Great idea

I think that Kiwiana has finally hit on a role for the Forsyth Barr Stadium that may finally be of benefit to the greater part of the citizenry:

"A lower-cost suggestion [to stabilse the seafront] worth investigating is to break the force of waves hitting the beaches is to make artificial kelp

Sheets of (recycled) plastic have one long edge rolled & sealed to make a tube ant the rest slit at right angles to the tube. The tube is filled with sand & sealed and the tubes laid underwater parallel to the beach.  The slit plastic floats like kelp fronds & tends to trap moving sand which builds up to form underwater dunes..."

I do not actually think that a better use for the acres of expensive, useless yet relentlesslly indestructable ETFE sheeting currently located at Awatea St. has been suggested up to this point.   Stadium derived ETFE sheet ersatz kelp beds, sliced up and dumped into the sea anchored by their own still attached steel tube frames, backed up by the related concrete rubble derived from the rest of the wortless thing, plus second hand "The grass will grow" Desso pitch improver to stabilise the marram grass on the dunes behind may well finally do the trick down at St. Clair.  A pricey way to do it but....   

Long eye lashes

I agree also, well done BMC.

But is BMC being very clever ?

Does he / she know more than meets the eye. 

There seems to be some key words that allude to recent events in this august daily tome.

Time to give the cadet reporter some rope to pick the scab off this strange thread suggested by BMC. 

Mind you camels do spit & groan a lot...hummm... 

Show me the money

"Stadium events had contributed $45 million to the Dunedin economy since 2011". This clearly states that $45 million gross income was taken from events which were held at the stadium. Quite possible. However, the big question for Mr Davies, and for the author of the unpublished report, is "How many of those revenue generating events are new events that relied specifically on the building of a new stadium, and how many of those events would have been held at other existing or previous venues regardless of the building of a new stadium ?". Show me, Mr Davies, that Dunedin would not have received a similar income without the building of a stadium set to cost the city $300 million. Show me that the new stadium is directly responsible for $45 million worth of brand new income and I will be the first one down to the ticket office to buy a season pass. Heck, I'll even buy one for you too.


Priceless BMC.

I used to love rugby

I used to love rugby. It was our national game, but now it is our local shame. They say the Highlanders are doing well, but to tell the truth I don't give a rats about a bunch of parasites. Sorry players, but this is the franchise you have been signed into - your salaies have been extorted from us ratepayers, so no love.

About the only positive that comes out of the stadium is that there will be no other vanity projects and misuse of ratepayer funds while it is being paid off, and by the looks of things that will be a very long time

And they wonder why kiwis have an intense dislike for leaders and authority...

Another off the cuff idea

As far as new money-making uses for the stadium go, what about something totally exclusive, like indoor camel racing? Nobody would think of having camels in Dunedin. It could be another unique selling point and help break the city free from the shackles of debt it is currently in. Dunedin is ankle deep in rising debt and sinking fast, we need something to get us over this financial hump.

Suggestion to protect beaches

A lower-cost suggestion worth investigating is to break the force of waves hitting the beaches is to make artificial kelp beds. Sheets of (recycled) plastic have one long edge rolled & sealed to make a tube ant the rest slit at right angles to the tube. The tube is filled with sand & sealed and the tubes laid underwater parallel to the beach.
The slit plastic floats like kelp fronds & tends to trap moving sand which builds up to form underwater dunes that will 'trip up' waves forming breakers and disappating their energy. With careful placement of rows of tubes ideal breaks can be provided for the surfers. 
The dunes become self-sustaining, they build up until the fronds are buried, but if a storm scalps the dunes the fronds will be exposed and slowly rebuild the dune. 

Promises vs reality

Wingy1234: You seem to be conveniently forgetting an important fact.  The CST told the community and the DCC and the ORC in 2008 when the project was being proposed that the stadium would be built debt-free and it would return an annual profit to the city.  Now you and most of the councillors seem to be saying that nowhere do stadia make money.  You and the city governance can't have it both ways. 
This stadium is bleeding Dunedin dry and that is a fact - no-one has ever come up with any other financial statement to show otherwise.  And it is as certain as God made little green apples that the promises made in 2008 will never be fulfilled. 
And just as certain that the so-called "economic benefits" to the city will remain as flim-flam or filled with spin as ever.  Have you ever seen any of the detail of these "benefits"?  [Abridged]

$45 million compared with what?

Trev shares this gem from  DVML chief executive Terry Davies:  "an unpublished analysis showed stadium events had contributed $45 million to the Dunedin economy since 2011."  Fabulous!  That's just a minute while I check my fingers, in rough terms it's not all that much per year, right?  And in that period how much has it moved from Dunedin to the creditors?  There is rather a lot of money owed on it, a lot and growing because of regular losses.  How much has this cost the individual property owner in rates, preventing them investing or enjoying a higher standard of living?  How many beneficial community assets, how much of the upkeep and renewal of core infrastructure, did the DCC have to chop back to keep rates down to only a few times greater than the rate of increase in people's incomes?

Show us the money

Wingy - it's struggling because it's not meeting the promises that were made by its rugby proponents - it's costing the ratepayers more than $100m more than was promised, and it's making an operating loss when they promised it was set up to make a small profit

Why is it doing that? because it's main users are far too cheap to pay their own way in the world, and didn't keep their promises about fund raising. We were sold a bill of goods.

As far as $45m in benefits - show us the money - who in Dunedin has really made that money? - don't show us those unrealistic studies from Aucklanders who've never actually been here that assume that all the hotel rooms would have been empty if there were no games, or that assume that every cockie who comes to town for a game will spend two nights rather than drive home afterwards, or that there are 20,000 hotel rooms in town, or don't subtract the lost tourist income when they can't come because hotels are full. Show us a real study with reasonable assumptions that doesn't involve pulling random numbers out of a bodily orifice until they are large enough.

Stadium solutions

Watch this space, there will be more from the council to pay for this Fubar monstrosity. To keep rates down and to make it fair to all ratepayers we will:

1. Start charging tolls on certain roads or a payment for having your vehicle in the city at certain times.

2. Ratepayers on higher household incomes will have to pay more in their rate bill for the stadium (this is only fair and equitable).

A poll tax on every person over a certain number in each household, let's say over 4 as good a number as any.

This councils and others need to stick to their core responsibilities and services. If you want to play the businessman keep it to yourself and risk your own money.

Stadium ring fence it, sell it for whatever then pay off the debt. This will be more cost effective than trying to keep it going.



Fail yes - also a disaster

Some cities fail like Chicago through bad management, but some come to a disastrous end like Troy via a Trojan Horse. Dunedin is like the latter whose Trojan Horse is the Stadium.

Here we go again

Once again we have the city councillors shovelling money at the stadium without any detailed financial analysis provided to them so that they can make an informed decision.

And while Lee Vandervis can be a bit caustic in his remarks, the ODT calls his comments "barbs". In my opinion Lee is right on the mark.

When you continually bail out under-performers they continue on their well worn path with the assurance that they will always get 'a pat on the back'.

While DCC departments continue cost cutting, euphemistically called "finding savings" DVML continues to create new management positions that are filled not by people with a proven requisite skill(s) but an 'interest' in a particular area.

Given that 3 highly skilled people were made redundant from the Dunedin Centre before its redevelopment and subsequent absorption into DVML, subsequent and continuing restructuring of DCC departments we are starting to see the real impact for people but not for the under-employed, over-paid DVML management.

Looking at other models for similar venue operations the management of DVML could easily be trimmed by half with no loss of ability to perform.

The city council would have been better to have waited or put tough conditions on additional funding until the report into DVML etc. was completed before committing the ratepayer to further financial pain for no gain. [abridged]

Turn off the lights

Get rid of the DVML etc and replace with one manager and a couple of maintenance blokes to look after the place. Turn off the lights and close the doors until it is needed for an event. Contract out any event management on an event by event basis. Replace the surface with something that is not such a high maintenance and low wearing. Maybe place a Velodrome and Athletics track around the outside,. Spend money on making it a truly a multi-event stadium so hockey, soccer, volleyball, cycling, athletics etc can be played in it, instead of spending money on new TVs etc.
Open it up in the mornings and at night, so the people can jog and ride their bikes around it on cold rainy winter days and charge then for doing so. All this may still cost us poor old ratepayers money, but at least it would be less then we a currently paying and many more people
would get a use/benefit from it.
Come up with new sporting events like cycling and athletics, cricket, and rugby comp events, and charge what it cost for tickets. Approach big business to sponsor said new events to make then worthwhile to get overseas competitors. Get TV sponsorship to broadcast and make them a yearly event.
Or close it down and sell it off for a $1 on the understanding whoever buys it takes over all the debt and cant not ask the DCC for any money

I'm sick of paying year in and year out for something I have not used and will never use as long as there is no events I am interested in seeing.
Well, that’s my opinion anyway for what’s it worth.


When's the next council election?

You're all fired, with the only exception being Cr Vandervis. DMVL needs to go, before all the rest of us do .

'Struggling' stadium?

"Struggling" Forsyth Barr Stadium? It really depends on what you are measuring success on. If you were looking for an asset to directly make money for the city then yes, you would say it is struggling.

In my view, community assets such as the stadium never make loads money and are not expected to. The stadium - just like the library, sports fields and swimming pools - loses money. However, the stadium hosts hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders every year from all over the world. It does bring millions of dollars indirectly into the city ($45 million since 2011! That is incredible) and does provide a large amount of jobs to locals. 

I believe the stadium is a massive success and is the envy of other major centres in NZ.

Only one word needed

Fail . . .


The best thing that the DCC can do with this eysore is sell the thing and be done with it. There will be someone somewhere who might buy it and then on sell for scrap value. This way the people who run this city might get some money back to pay for more important items, such as looking at rising sea levels etc but to continue to pour money into this insane business is stark staring bonkers.

Rates are still too high

"Millions more for stadium" if the ODT was still a hot type shop they would have made up headline and put it aside for reuse - how many times have we seen it in these pages? 10? more?

3% is still too high, it's above the inflation rate - we've had a decade of consecutive compounding rates rises, each above inflation, it's time rates were dropped for a number of years to compensate - to start that we have to stop flushing money down the stadium toilet.

Can you believe this ?

No credence must be given to comments such as, "However, DVML chief executive Terry Davies tried to put the losses in context yesterday, telling councillors an unpublished analysis showed stadium events had contributed $45 million to the Dunedin economy since 2011."

Such comments are based on statistical dreams and not on real facts. We have seen the same theoretical incomes aired before by the University. I would give more credence to the Farry phrase, "build it and they will come" than Davies' comment. It's just more spin.

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