Stadium costs predictable, so why the surprise now?

Forsyth Barr Stadium critic Russell Garbutt, of Clyde, is not surprised by reports of looming stadium losses.

The ongoing revelations on stadium losses detailed today (ODT, 21.2.14) come as no surprise to anyone who has closely followed this debacle from when the Otago Rugby Football Union first gathered the Carisbrook working party together until now, when a succession of different managers, directors and councillors are all realising that what was promised is as chalk is to cheese.

While not directly specified in the article, the turnaround of an expected $10,000 profit to a $1,400,000 loss in 2014-15 is in the operational budget, and it seems Sir John Hansen, chairman of DVML, is putting most of the blame for this truly stupendous reversal of fortunes down to costs of running the stadium.

The ''realities'' of the real costs of running the stadium are now being recognised, it seems.

But let us all just remember a few things that occurred when the stadium was being proposed and then built.

To make the budgets and forecasts acceptable to the Dunedin City Council at the time, many of the costs seen as unnecessary were trimmed or cut.

Among those costs were maintenance.

It is disingenuous, at least, to now blame costs being too high when those easily foreseen costs were slashed from submitted budgets.

While ratepayers continue to face annual injections of over $9 million into the stadium, this is by no means the real figure.

This is merely the figure taken out of the ratepayers' purses for DVML to run the stadium.

The costs of servicing the debt for building the stadium reside within DVL - a parallel entity formed to own the stadium which is being run by DVML.

The boards of both these entities are the same.

On the other side of the ledger, of course, is income and here, too, are some acknowledgements of systemic failure to achieve what was promised.

Many prominent Dunedin and Otago people publicly and privately claimed hundreds or thousands of new Dunedin residents or long-term visitors would be attracted to the city by a procession of rock bands and other regular entertainment, all based at the new stadium.

Indeed, a costly consultant to the Carisbrook Stadium Trust came up with a long list of events that even the most ardent proponent of the new stadium would now see as ridiculous.

The World Swimming Championships is but one that springs to mind.

Sir John Hansen tells us something might be staged at the stadium at Easter.

A far cry indeed from what was held up as not only possible but achievable.

It is now almost a year since the last ''major'' concert event was held at the stadium.

The only thing that happens regularly on the playing surface of the stadium is what the stadium was all about in the first place - a replacement for Carisbrook and a venue for two professional rugby teams.

And the only other noticeable factor in all of this is a complete lack of accountability by those who caused this debacle to occur.

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