DCC eyeing own marquee plans

The Dunedin City Council has its own plans to set up marquees in the city for the Rugby World Cup, despite telling Octagon bars they could not do the same there.

Some councillors have suggested changes to recent decisions the council has made relating to the event, including the marquee ban, because of an increase in the number of visitors expected, but Cr Syd Brown said last night there were still options to be developed to deal with the increase.

Mayor Dave Cull said the council's decisions could be reconsidered, though the thinking on the Octagon marquees had not changed.

The plan for the council's marquees became clear yesterday, when the finance, strategy and development committee discussed a report on the world cup from marketing and communications agency manager Debra Simes.

The background to the report is changes to Dunedin's role in the cup since the Christchurch earthquake, which meant more teams and more supporters staying longer in the city.

In March, the council decided to allow smaller gazebos outside Octagon bars during the event, but not larger enclosed marquees used previously.

Ms Simes' report raised the problem of how to host an estimated more than 15,000 supporters before and after matches.

During the discussion, she said the council was considering erecting festival marquees for the event, and a variety of areas they could go.

That involved "a number of different central city options", but issues such as parking capacity had to be considered.

Asked about the issue last night, committee chairman Cr Brown said it was early in the planning for the marquees, and issues such as who would profit from running the hospitality inside, and where they would go, were yet to be decided.

"There is a committee that is looking with a holistic view at how we can accommodate this influx of visitors without stretching the seams of the city.

"What I can say is there is a different dynamic now than there was when tests were at Carisbrook."

That included ticket holders in the south stand of the Forsyth Barr stadium having access after games to facilities in that stand.

Cr Bill Acklin questioned Ms Simes on the issue, and said he was raising it because the council told Octagon premises they could not have marquees that could have created capacity for 3000 to 4000 people.

Cr Acklin said apart from the 25,000 to 30,000 going to the games, others may be crowding into licensed premises to watch the rugby, meaning the numbers using bars may double or even triple.

Ms Simes said that scenario had been envisaged.

"It's something we are working through with police.

"They have identified exactly that."

Cr Acklin said after the meeting he felt the city, by refusing the bars, had "missed an opportunity" to expand capacity, and allow people whose skills were in hospitality to take the responsibility and the liability for the event.

Cr Paul Hudson said at the meeting the decisions the council had made on the issue had been made before the extra teams and supporters were included in thinking.

He asked Ms Simes if there would be a time when staff would come back to the council and recommend decisions be changed.

Cr Brown answered, and said reports on the issue would come back in time for the council's annual plan process in May.

 

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