Super-city a factor in push for stadium meeting told

Last updated 05:00 18/03/2014

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Hutt Valley

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Backers of a new stadium proposed for Petone have faced a barrage of questions, while acknowledging the prospect of a super-city is a factor in the project.

''We may have a small window of opportunity before we are swallowed up by a super-city.

"We run the risk of becoming a dormitory suburb for Wellington, and we need to think carefully about the type of infrastructure we want for our children and grandchildren,'' Community Facilities Trust chairman Alister Skene told a public meeting last night.

Lower Hutt ratepayers are being asked to pay $25 million of the estimated $48m cost of a ''boutique'' 12,000-seat stadium at the Petone Recreation Ground.

The public meeting at the Petone Rugby Club drew a crowd of 200.

Kensington Ave resident Vonny Beveridge asked about parking, rates, and the effects on the community.

Mr  Skene said the impact on rates was not known, but it was clear parking was an issue.

''We have a lot of work to do on parking but a solution is there if we think outside the square.''

Some WelTec parks could be used, alongside those of nearby schools and businesses. 

A comprehensive traffic and parking plan would be needed to get permission to build the stadium, he said.

Wellington concert promoter Phil Sprey told the meeting he would never hold a concert there.

''It's too small, there's no roof, no hotel,'' he said.

''I'd encourage people to put things up, but you've got to do your homework, and this falls a long way short.''

Earlier, Mr Skene said the stadium would be an asset to Lower Hutt, pulling in about $6m  a year in extra spending, alongside national and international exposure.

The Hutt City Council will decide today if it should put the request out for consultation, axe it, or decide more work should be done.

A report released last week described the project as ''perhaps the most significant proposal for infrastructure that Hutt City has seen''.

''Officers consider the proposal represents a significant opportunity for Hutt City.''The report said the plan should be peer-reviewed by an independent expert.

Yesterday Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Raewyn Bleakley said the council should not commit to the stadium until the super-city question was settled.

''Councillors must consider the bigger picture - the regional picture - before committing to big-ticket items that may not end up being their responsibility.''

Wellington, the Hutt Valley, Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay are in the midst of amalgamation applications being considered by the Local Government Commission.

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- The Dominion Post

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