Land sale could pay for new stadium

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 05:00 03/10/2012
white water rafting
EXTREME SPORT: White water rafting is a popular activity in New Zealand.

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A South Auckland trust wants Auckland Council to sell land to pay for a new development in Manukau.

As the second stage of the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre, the development would have a white water stadium, a function centre, gallery, exhibition hall and cafe.

The project, backed by the Counties Manukau Pacific Trust, is divided into five sub-stages, and would be finished by 2019.

To help raise the funds for the stadium, the council would need to sell land next to the centre.

Tomorrow the Strategy and Finance Committee will decide whether it will sell the land and give the proceeds to the trust.

The public will have a say on whether the sale goes ahead.

Neil Huang, a council advisor, recommends it does.

"The proceeds from the sale of the residue land should be either retained by Regional Facility Auckland (RFA) to reduce its need for council funding, or held by RFA while consultation takes place," Huang said in a report in the committee agenda.

Huang said the public consultation should happen before Christmas this year, or during the annual plan consultation.

"Its location in the area will ensure that the jobs it creates, the new spending it catalyses and the educational and sporting opportunities it provides, will be focused on communities that are amongst the most disadvantaged in Auckland."

He said the proposal for the white water stadium suggests around 45,000 students would attend a white water course annually, bringing in about $720,000.

There has been controversy around the building of the stadium with the chairman of the trust, Sir Noel Robinson, last week hitting back at claims by Councillor Dick Quax that ratepayers would foot the bill.

Robinson said building the facility would be a "win-win" situation.

"It has always been part of the master plan for the development of this site," he said.

"Councillor Dick Quax has claimed that the ratepayer has already given the trust over $50m - this is complete rubbish."

He said Quax has misrepresented the facts, because the trust plans to raise the money itself.

According to Robinson, it would sell off land next to the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre to raise $20m and would fundraise for the remaining $10m.

Quax claimed the trust has turned to ratepayers yet again after previously being turned away from the former Manukau City Council and rejected by the High Court.

"That land belongs to the ratepayers," he said.

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Quax said the trust already made money from the first land sale, and they are not entitled to any more.

- Auckland Now

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