Future of Rugby Park on agenda

The future of Invercargill's Rugby Park is on shaky ground after the council decided to cease...
The future of Invercargill's Rugby Park is on shaky ground after the council decided to cease maintenance and safety works. PHOTO: ODT/SUPPLIED
Rugby Southland bosses will meet Invercargill Mayor Nobby Clark today in an attempt to forge a way forward for the future of Rugby Park Stadium.

The rugby union was blindsided last week after the council decided to halt all repairs and maintenance to Rugby Park, putting in doubt the future of the ground.

Mr Clark said last week hard decisions had to be made around rate rises and the result around Rugby Park was because costs had to be cut. Other items were also cut from the council long-term plan, including introducing glass recycling and a reduced grant to Great South.

He said last week he intended to meet Rugby Southland staff to explain the decision.

Rugby Southland chief executive Steve Mitchell said yesterday he was looking forward to the meeting but did not know what would come of it.

It was not the ideal way for him to go out, he said. He was set to finish in his chief executive role in just over a week and move back to Tasman, where he would be chief executive of that union.

"I’ve only got one more week in the role and I thought we had got this locked down with the council. It has been a concern of mine since I got here four years ago," he said.

"We will just get in there and see what they have to say."

The union had pointed to a 2021 report which the council had accepted which said Rugby Park was the preferred outdoor large venue for Invercargill. The decision last week had gone against the report’s recommendations, he said.

Mr Clark would be joined by council chief executive Michael Day, other council staff and Cr Grant Dermody, the chairman of the council’s finance and projects committee, he said.

Rugby Southland staff have been unable to all work at Rugby Park due to issues around water-tightness and mould. The high-performance staff have been based at Stadium Southland and other staff work in offices in the centre of the city.