Cull not worried by Chch stadium plan

Dave Cull.
Dave Cull.
Any plans for a roofed stadium in Christchurch were far from certain and likely to be at least 10 years away, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says.

A covered 35,000-capacity stadium similar to Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium was announced yesterday as one of 17 proposed large "anchor projects" outlined in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan to rebuild the earthquake-damaged Christchurch CBD.

The plan gives an indicative time frame of five years for the stadium project, but how long it will take, its shape and whether it will happen at all are unclear.

The Government has said it will help pay for the anchor projects where it had primary responsibility, such as the hospital redevelopment and a new justice and emergency precinct.

But the design and funding for the other anchor projects, such as the stadium, a convention centre and a metro sports facility, would need to be worked out between the Christchurch City Council and the private sector.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee also said a stadium was not likely to be a priority for Christchurch, and the plan simply highlighted a site that could be secured in the meantime so subsequent decisions could be made.

Mr Cull said he believed it would be at least 10 years before a Christchurch stadium was built, as there would only be a finite pool of money available and the community would have to decide which projects were done first.

"What we have here is a very bold plan, that is not costed. If you look at what ours cost, for a bigger, covered stadium, I'd say it's going to cost half a billion [dollars]."

A covered stadium in Christchurch could pose a threat to Forsyth Barr Stadium where the two venues were vying for events, such as test rugby and concerts, that were only going to play once in the South Island.

However, Dunedin should just let Christchurch worry about its own situation, he said.

"If you focus on what everyone one else is doing, you get nothing done ... and there's not much point in worrying about what we can't change."

The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan suggests a covered stadium would "position central Christchurch as a world-class option for attracting and hosting events", and presents graphics of covered stadiums, while the plan also suggests a roof would be optional.

The stadium site would be bordered by Tuam and Madras Sts and replace AMI Stadium, which was irreparably damaged in the quakes. The plan gives an indicative time frame of five years for the stadium project.

The Christchurch council has already rejected calls for a covered stadium for the city, but last night Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said it was hoped the "bold vision" of the plan would attract investors to the city.

"Obviously, that [a roofed stadium] would be a dream facility. We would love to have it that way. The challenge for us in this plan is to be innovative, to work with private partners, to think outside the box and see if we can achieve that," he told TV3.

Last night it also seemed the Christchurch council might be in for a fight with ratepayers over the stadium. Ratepayers protesting outside the venue where the plan was being announced said they were angry they were still having to use Portaloos at home when such a grand plan for the central city was being unveiled.

"What's more important? A roof over our heads, or a stadium roof?" one told TV3


Christchurch stadium

• 35,000 seat capacity with 4300 demountable seats to allow for staging and scaling of events.

• Corporate suites and lounge spaces with 4000 seat capacity.

• Option of a fixed, transparent roof to allow natural turf and enable multiple uses.

• Optimum spectator viewing through rectangular format for field of play and seating.

Source: Christchurch Central Recovery Plan



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