Opponents survive supporters' late surge in poll

If ever there was a game of two halves, it was yesterday's Tele-Topics poll of readers on whether or not they supported the city's backing of the Awatea St stadium.

After piling on the points early, a passionate anti-stadium team looked invincible at halftime, leading 109 to 28.

But while those against the stadium had a clear win, a ‘‘half-time talk'' from the ‘‘coach'' - in the form of an email from Our Stadium Supporters club secretary Tim Calder - brought about a remarkable rally from the stadium supporters.

The end result of the non-scientific poll was 347 readers saying they did not support the council's decision, and 274 saying they did.

While the late surge could not get them over the line, pro-stadium voters finished much closer than the early results would suggest.

Yesterday's Tele-Topics question asked for a ‘‘Yes'' or ‘‘No'' on whether readers supported the Dunedin City Council's decision on Monday to ‘‘commit'' to the Carisbrook Stadium Trust's vision of a roofed stadium at Awatea St. While the decision has been made, passions were still running hot.

The response was strong, with more than 621 people leaving telephone messages. And the opposition was vigorous. The stress on the word ‘‘not'' in the response ‘‘no, I do not support the decision'', made clear the level of passion among anti-stadium respondents. ‘‘This decision is absolutely ridiculous,'' one said.

‘‘They [councillors] suffer from delusions of grandeur.''

The most common complaint was the effect on rates, especially for those on low or fixed incomes, along with the level of debt the city would have to bear, and questions people believed the trust had not answered.

Others thought the council should not be in the business of stadiums, and the city was too small to keep the stadium afloat.

There were concerns about the re-claimed land it was being built on, the possibility of sea level rise swamping the facility, and interest rate rises and a recession blowing out the cost.

One respondent said she was ‘‘insulted'' to be asked her opinion after the decision had been made.

Mr Calder's email to stadium supporters reminded them of the poll.

‘‘We know that all the antis will be phoning non-stop, so please make the call now and answer YES to support the decision.''

What had been a very low level of response from pro-stadium readers suddenly became a flood.

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