Council to see stadium plan next week

ALEX FENSOME AND HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 04/02/2014

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Plans have been drawn up for a new stadium in Petone which could potentially become home to the Wellington Phoenix.

A proposal for a 10,000 to 12,000-capacity stadium will be shown to a private session of the Hutt City Council on Wednesday next week.

It comes after Phoenix co-owner Gareth Morgan said the club was looking for alternative venues to host matches away from the "unworkable" Westpac Stadium, and would likely play more "home" games at centres around New Zealand where the club could draw bigger crowds to make money.

Games at the 34,500 capacity Westpac Stadium have attracted crowds as small as 6000 this season.

The Community Facilities Trust, a Hutt City Council controlled organisation, confirmed it had investigated a new stadium at the Petone Recreation Ground in recent months.

Trust chairman Alister Skene said the council would be briefed on the proposal at a closed session on Wednesday next week.

The trust had been working with "other partners", whom he refused to disclose at this point. "At the moment that's all I can say. We've been asked to present first to council. We've provided a high-level briefing for them and they've asked us to come back with more detailed analysis."

A concept design had been drawn up, but there was nothing definitely decided, he said. The stadium's capacity would be about 10,000 to 12,000.

"It's a chicken and egg thing - we want to disclose as much as possible, we want feedback and community engagement and talk to all the stakeholders but we want to do it in an appropriate manner . . . council is the first step in that."

Phoenix general manager David Dome said he was "over" the relocation debate and no viable alternative to the Westpac existed. "There's only one stadium we can play at at the moment and that's Westpac Stadium," he said.

"Let's say AMI [Stadium] in Christchurch cost $30-$40 million. That's the temporary one, right? So $30-$40m to build that and I think AMI [Stadium], the proper one, was $250m.

"If you can find me someone with $30 or $40 million, that wants to sink money into it and they want to build it, we'll go there. But at the moment it doesn't exist."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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