Bid for terraces roofing still alive

Paul O'Brien just won't go away.

Many might feel his plan to build a cover on the embankment at FMG Stadium is a dead duck, but the Palmerston North businessman keeps beavering away.

The project was moth balled in March when it disappeared into the innards of the Palmerston North City Council bureaucracy.

O'Brien had lined up a squadron of businesses to pay for a roof made of stretched PVC fabric of the kind used at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch, at a cost of only $320,000.

The project, which he kicked off in June last year, foundered when it was not included in the council's draft annual plan and the companies withdrew their offer.

"The companies who were prepared to back it were very disappointed their offer of cash in kind was not accepted," O'Brien said. "But being the corporate citizens they are, they would be very receptive to other approaches."

Often people O'Brien knows will cross the street to accost him about how they can't get their heads around it, how the council wouldn't have had to spend a cent to get the roofing built.

"There is a strong mandate from the public, individual councillors and the mayor and management team to try to get a roof in the equation [for year three of the long-term plan].

"And the consultation process is under way."

O'Brien has it in writing that the roof is part of the review being done of the Arena Manawatu complex and it will also be considered in the 10-year plan.

It is doubtful O'Brien has 10 years of patience in him over this issue.

He said he has received a strong message that it is alive and that there is a swing in favour of roofing the embankment. He was buoyed by being asked to meet the council's head of strategy and planning, Neil Miller. "But there have been no promises made," he said.

Meanwhile, NPC rugby will be back at the Arena with the Manawatu-Auckland match on Saturday, August 23, and patrons on the terraces will again be at the mercy of the weather, or they will opt to sit at home and watch it on television.

Manawatu Standard