Christchurch Metro Sports Facility site 'not exactly the best' with land remediation costing $5m
The new Christchurch Metro Sports Facility site is likely the biggest land remediation project in New Zealand history.
With asbestos, hazardous material, liquefaction risk and other land issues to cost around $5 million, a rebuild agency boss has conceded it was "not exactly the best site" for a sports facility.
Developer Otakaro Limited expects construction work to start on the $300 million facility this year.
Leighs Cockram Joint Venture and Protranz began decontaminating and repairing the land last October.
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Contractors will drive between 6000 and 9000 concrete piles – between 50cm and 1 metre in diameter – into the ground.
They are currently drilling bores up to 35m deep to remove ground water without disturbing aquifers.
Otakaro chief executive Albert Brantley said the central city location was good for a sports centre.
"The difficulty is it's not exactly the best site to build this type of facility on," he said.
"It's probably going to be one of the largest, if not the largest, [remediation] project in New Zealand."
The site is bordered by St Asaph St, Antigua St and Moorhouse Ave. It includes the former Canterbury Draught brewery site.
It was among the Government's priority projects. It was initially expected to be finished early this year and cost $217m.
It is now to be completed by early 2020. Until recently, it was used as a car park.
Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Nicky Wagner said the site was chosen for its proximity to Hagley Park, the bus interchange, the hospital and Moorhouse Ave.
"While the land required significant remediation, the Government has taken a long-term view."
Brantley said the early works would allow construction to begin as soon as the main works contract was signed.
He said Otakaro was negotiating "final arrangements and designs" with Leighs Cockram, which would likely be the main contractor.
"They're the people we're talking to, but we haven't finalised the final details," Brantley said.
"We believe we're going to be able to get started pretty soon."
Swimming Canterbury West Coast board chairman Wayne Rollinson said he hoped the facility would be completed by its "early 2020" deadline.
South Islanders had to travel to the North Island for a lot of events. Canterbury pools were pushed for available space.
"We're having to restrict numbers into some events."
Swimming events were held at Jellie Park, Selwyn Aquatic Centre and Rangiora's Dudley Park.
"[Metro Sports] will just be a fantastic facility when it's finished," Rollinson said.
"We'll be bringing national, if not Oceana, events back into this region."
The 34,000 square metre facility will be the largest venue of its kind in New Zealand, featuring a 10-lane, 50m swimming pool, a separate diving pool and 1000 spectator seats.
It would feature the largest leisure pool in the country, five hydroslides, nine indoor sports courts, a gym, fitness rooms, a High Performance New Zealand (HPNZ) training base and a performance art studio.
The Christchurch City Council, which will operate the facility, expects an average of 40,000 customers through the doors each week.
That is about the same amount of people who used all council pools each week between 2015 and 2017.
Several pools closed over those years for earthquake repairs.