New Christchurch stadium 'on hold', Crown waiting on council to reiterate support
Christchurch's new stadium is "on hold" until the city council clearly commits to funding it, Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee says.
Brownlee has confirmed that the development of a business case for the stadium is off the table until the Christchurch City Council states clear support for the project.
Last week, Christchurch mayoral candidates John Minto and Lianne Dalziel snubbed the project, for which the Crown has already spent upwards of $40 million acquiring land.
Minto questioned whether it was needed, while Dalziel labelled it a "waste of time".
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The proposed 35,000-seat stadium would be built between Madras, Barbadoes, Tuam and Cashel streets.
Responding to written parliamentary questions from Labour's Canterbury spokeswoman Megan Woods, which asked why he did not action a June 2015 request to proceed with a business case, Brownlee said doing so would be a "waste of money".
"As a consequence of the Christchurch City Council (CCC) Long Term Plan (LTP), the CCC pushed out their cost sharing agreement commitment to beyond 2020," he said.
"In that event, commencing a business case in 2015 more than five years ahead of the CCC funding decision, would have been a complete waste of money."
It was reiterated council had an obligation under the cost sharing agreement to fund $253 million for the project. Details of the project are being discussed as part of a "refresh" of the cost sharing agreement.
"As the [council] will not fund the project until after 2020, with even then no fixed date for funding to be available, this project is currently on hold," Brownlee said.
It was understood to be the first time Brownlee had declared the project "on hold".
The council would have to reiterate its commitment to the project before a business case was developed, he said.
Council city services general manager David Adamson said council had kept $252m in its LTP, but spread it over three financial years from 2022/23 to 2024/25.
"Currently we are finalising our assessment of Lancaster Park before we can join with the Crown to prepare a joint business case on a future multi-use arena," he said.
Canterbury Rugby Union chief executive Hamish Riach said the organisation would like to see progress, but also understood the matters that needed resolving.
"I think the main thing is that we continue to be supportive of the concept a new multi-event venue that was included in the anchor projects," Riach said.
The organisation would return to Lancaster Park if it was restored, he said.
Popular city centre bar Dux Central operates just minutes away from the planned site.
Owner Richard Sinke said he was disappointed by the hold up but knew "it was always going take a huge amount of time".
"It does need to happen. Christchurch needs a big venue. You have to have a mixture of entertainment, hospitality, retail and residential to bring people back into the city."
Sinke said it was an excellent location. "Everyone needs to let go of the idea of the city being in Addington. It needs to come back here."
Christchurch Stadium Trust chairman Jim Anderton was not concerned by the amount of time it was taking for decisions to be made on the proposed new stadium.
"We've been in the loop on all the discussions and we understand the situation.
"Clearly the council has got priorities for the city," he said.
Anderton said he was confident AMI Stadium at Addington would "stand up all right".