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The development of the Otago Stadium in Dunedin was "absolutely critical" for the region, rugby enthusiast Kevin Malcolm told a public meeting in Oamaru last night.
Mr Malcolm was one of about 50 people - including a large group of school pupils - who attended the meeting at Waitaki Boys High School, where the design and other plans for the stadium were outlined.
A private luncheon was held in the town earlier in the day.
Mr Malcolm said he knew hundreds of people who supported the project.
"We must have this development.
''It's just absolutely critical."
The Marketing Bureau chief executive Brian Meredith described it as a "dramatic leap forward" for the region.
To call it a stadium was misleading, he said - it was a place where many things would happen and many people would come together in many ways for many reasons and at many different times.
It would be a "sporting cauldron and an entertainment cornucopia and a key piece in the beginning of the rest of Dunedin's life," he said.
Mr Meredith outlined membership and seating products, while Carisbrook Stadium Trust commercial manager Guy Hedderwick gave a brief history of the project and outlined what he claimed were the economic and cultural benefits.
Oamaru resident Ron Sim was concerned about funding for the stadium in the middle of a major financial depression, while Malcolm McKenzie, representing the Waitaki Ratepayers and Concerned Citizens, said members were very concerned about rating.
However, Val Popplewell said she was willing to contribute to the stadium and congratulated those involved.