Report: $4m for 'extras' at stadium

An 11-point list of "possible additional" spending at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, with a newly released price tag of $4.35 million, is about to hit the Dunedin City Council table, just months before the stadium is due to open.

The list and the figure, printed in a brief, two-page report to be discussed by a full council meeting today, are causing angry ripples in stadium circles, and angry denials the items were left out of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust's (CST) planning.

Councillors are required to make no decisions on the matter.

The report, from council financial planner Carolyn Howard, recommends they merely note the issue.

CST chairman Malcolm Farry, furious at the release of information he said was "somewhat inaccurate", said the trust was not seeking additional funds.

"That DVML is seeking funding for items they wish to have is a matter between the DCC and DVML," Mr Farry said.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, asked if ratepayers would have the to meet burden of the extra cost, said: "No".

He said if all the items were agreed to by the council, there was no assumption they would be paid for by the council.

The list includes items listed as "excluded" since 2008, including kitchen fit-outs, scoreboards and replay screens - items that have been widely reported in the past as requiring spending in the millions.

It also includes some new items, including signs and communication facilities.

Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) chief executive David Davies said DVML was continuing to negotiate with sponsors or others to pay for some of the items, though with the Rugby World Cup approaching, "contingencies" might have to be put in place.

Ms Howard's report to the council said DVML and the CST were discussing the costs and potential funding sources for the each of the items on the list.

The publication of the report appears to have followed discussions between Mr Cull, who has opposed the project in the past, and DVML, the board of which submitted the information.

Acting council chief executive Athol Stephens said he had been trying to "shepherd" the CST, DVML and the project delivery team into putting out a joint report on the issue, but that had been "more complex than one might expect".

Asked if the publication of the report meant DVML had ended its attempts to fund the items from sources outside the council, Mr Stephens said DVML wanted a level of service higher than was anticipated.

For the kitchen fit-out, for instance, it might mean a contractor could not be found who would invest to that level, though negotiations were still going on to attract sponsorship to pay for some items.

Asked whether ratepayers would have to pay any of the $4.35 million, Mr Stephens said it was a matter of getting as much money as possible from sponsors.

Items like the grow lights had been identified before the grass had grown so well, and were far less likely to be wanted now, he said.

Additional spending
Cost $4.35m, says report

• Scoreboards
• Large replay screens
• Internal find-your-way signs
• External signs
• Wi-Fi system
• PABX phone system
• Catering fit-out
• Radio communications
• Grow lights
• Fit-out of level 2A for rental
• Toilets in the west stand


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