Unrealistic to have club sport at stadium - Davies

Terry Davies.
Terry Davies
The chances of playing club sport under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium without an advanced booking are virtually nil, Dunedin Venues chief executive Terry Davies says.

The issue came up in mid-April when the Dunedin City Council closed all its grounds due to poor weather.

The Dunedin Rugby Metropolitan Council was reluctant to cancel round five of premier rugby and had hoped to play on the sand-based surfaces at Hancock Park and Kettle Park and possibly under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

However, the stadium was ruled out because of scheduled maintenance.

The issue came up again last month when grotty weather forced more cancellations, although premier rugby went ahead as planned.

Davies said the idea club sport could be played at Forsyth Barr Stadium because of poor weather was naive.

''It is a little naive to think because it is raining outside and there is water on the facilities, you can just come inside,'' he said.

''It is just unrealistic because of the actual programme and the high level of maintenance required to keep the surface in top-class condition.

''The stadium was fundamentally built to deliver a real economic impact for the city. We have a number of major contracts in place with the professional rugby bodies ... and there are other major events that we need to look after.

''On that basis we run quite a detailed maintenance schedule right through to the year it ensure we can deliver.

''The last thing we want to do is have a facility that is [not looking its best].''

Davies said the venue, which will host a match between the Highlanders and the British and Irish Lions next week, stages about 100 community events each year. They are funded through its community events funding policy and organisations can apply through that process to stage things at the stadium.

Davies said hosting that many community events was a ''stretch'' and put pressure on the facility which meant it could not be as reactive as some may wish.

''It would be very difficult for us to respond quite quickly when we have such a detailed programme right through the year.

''In saying that, we manage the programme way out in advance to accommodate those community events. But it needs to be planned in so we are managing the surface and facility to accommodate all those other demands.''


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