Claim that metro sports facility site is subsiding labelled as scaremongering

Garry Moore is questioning whether there is subsidence at the Metro Sports Facility site. Photo:...
Garry Moore is questioning whether there is subsidence at the Metro Sports Facility site. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Former mayor Garry Moore has been labelled a scaremonger after raising concerns over the stability of the Metro Sports Facility site in central Christchurch.

Moore suggested there could be major problems at the site which is bordered by Moorhouse Ave, Antigua, Stewart and St Asaph Sts, at his weekly Tuesday Club – a public forum and debating session held at Smash Palace bar in the central city.

He had been told the ground has subsided by 50mm. He also says construction firm CPB Contractors, which is building the facility, could be pumping water off the site to stop it from subsiding. CPB did not respond to questions from The Star.

Ōtākaro Ltd, the Government agency responsible for anchor projects in the central city, said ground settlement was expected.

Former Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said he believed the project is being completed to the correct standards.

Garry Moore.
Garry Moore.
When asked if he thought Moore was scaremongering, he said: “Yes.”

Said Brownlee: “It’s been an issue (claims about issues with anchor projects) all the way through the recovery from the earthquake damage. (It) has been people putting out there ‘I heard this from somebody,’ without the solid evidence that you need to back it.

“If you say things like this, you need to be able to point to factual evidence and factual decisions.

“That site has had very, very extensive groundworks undertaken on it to ensure that it is a stable site.

“I do trust the engineers. That’s all that we’ve got to go on, you have to use the best professional advice you’ve got.”

In response to Brownlee’s comments Moore told The Star: “I’d say it’s naive to say that you should not challenge the ruling of a professional, and I always have, I always will and I do not share his [Brownlee’s] approach to advice.

Gerry Brownlee.
Gerry Brownlee.
“All I know is what I’ve been told by engineers and people that are working on the site and I just raised it as a question [at the meeting] and said what’s the story?

“It’s a poor site, and before anything started I was told that by a geotech engineer.”

The $301 million facility is set to open next year and will be the largest aquatic and indoor recreation and leisure venue in New Zealand.

Said Moore: “My concern is, is a building being built on that site that’s the wrong building for it? Is it too heavy? You imagine the weight of that building when they fill it with water.

A spokesperson for Ōtākaro Ltd said ground settlement, which is vertical movement of the ground, “is expected and is variable across the site.”

The spokesperson did not answer a question from The Star as to how much specific settlement there had been.

“The design of the structure accommodates the settlements experienced to date and they are not causing any issues with construction continuing,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said “significant” work has been done on the site to improve the ground and control these settlements.

Pumping water off the site has been to enable deep excavations to remain dry and this contributes to ground settlement, said the spokesperson.

Moore said Ōtākaro should provide specific details of the settlement.

The Metro Sports Facility site. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The Metro Sports Facility site. Photo: Geoff Sloan

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