Stadium: Cairns gets crucial call

A confidential telephone call to Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Cairns yesterday may have delivered the help needed to get the Otago Stadium project over another critical funding hurdle.

Mr Cairns, who is in favour of the stadium, would not tell the Otago Daily Times who the call was from or what was said, but he appeared positive.

Just over a fortnight ago, the council confirmed its $37.5 million contribution to the $198 million-dollar project.

One of its conditions was that it receive an "assurance acceptable to council" that $15 million from the Government or other sources had been found to cover a shortfall in private-sector funding.

The deadline was yesterday, in time for a council meeting today.

Mr Cairns said last night: "All I have received is a telephone call".

Details would be shared with councillors in-committee today.

Asked if there would be any public announcement, Mr Cairns said: "We're going to have to say something. I'm not quite sure what."

Carisbrook Stadium Trust chairman Malcolm Farry said from Wellington late yesterday afternoon the trust was "working around the clock" and was confident it would have "something for the regional council to consider".

Mr Farry said the trust had not been invited to the council meeting.

Asked how the assurance might be delivered, Mr Farry said: "Wait and see.

I don't mean to be mysterious, but we are not in a position to say any more than that at the moment.

We've still got another 24 hours, and I can tell you a lot can happen in 24 hours in this context."

At the start of yesterday's Dunedin City Council meeting, councillors spent an hour and a-half listening to a stadium update.

Councillors approached afterwards would not comment on developments.

mark.price@odt.co.nz

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