Mayor stands by stadium process

Mayor Peter Chin makes a point on the stadium issue. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Mayor Peter Chin makes a point on the stadium issue. Photo by Linda Robertson.
A defiant Dunedin Mayor, Peter Chin, yesterday labelled as "incorrect" some information heard at last week's Stop the Stadium organised meeting and stood by the process his council had followed in its support of the project.

After a somewhat flustered few days putting together answers to questions raised by speakers at the meeting, and subsequently put to him by the Otago Daily Times, Mr Chin said much of the information had been provided before. Some of the people asking questions had either not seen the answers or "chosen to ignore them".

Mr Chin challenged some of the allegations levelled during the meeting, noting an expert assessment of the site showed it was suitable for building, that the design and specifications of the stadium had not been lowered, and that areas of risk in the guaranteed maximum price contract had been "identified and dealt with".

Mr Chin acknowledged the council could have done more to provide the information people were demanding.

Asked whether he would consider a public meeting to allay the concerns of Dunedin citizens, which have shown no signs of abating, he said a council meeting at 9am on April 20 would hear whether information received lined up with the resolutions the council made on March 17 last year, and amended later that year.

With a final decision to sign a construction contract only 12 days away, he said all the details of the project were still not known.

"There are questions that we can't answer yet."

He said a good example was the Government's $15 million underwriting of the project. While that had been promised, the details had not been finalised.

Council chief executive Jim Harland said the level of proof some people demanded was impossible to provide in such a large project. Such a project always had risks, something councillors would have to judge when they made their decision.

Mr Chin said efforts were being made to tie up the loose ends as much as possible, so councillors could make a decision.

"In a democracy, that's how it works," Mr Harland added.

Asked if he would have handled the situation differently if he had the time over again, Mr Chin said with the benefit of hindsight, anybody would change things they did.

"I don't think this project is any exception.

"But the council had voted to proceed under the March 17 resolutions, which set out conditions that had to be met for the stadium to go ahead.

"That's why I keep coming back to that. They have not all happened yet, but they will have, I'm hoping, by April 20.

"At that meeting, councillors will be able to weigh up all the information, assess the risks and make that call."



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