New park upgrade proposed

Just months after finishing one upgrade to satisfy rugby bosses, Nelson's Trafalgar Park could be in for another facelift, costing $7 million to $20 million, in a bid to make it an attractive host venue for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Nelson City Council's community services committee was to discuss on Thursday a consultant's report outlining two options to further upgrade the park.

The council recently spent a total of $1.7 million on a new grandstand on the western side of the park to get it up to Air New Zealand Cup standard. The Tasman District Council provided temporary seating, after a three-way funding agreement among the councils and the Tasman Rugby Union collapsed.

Thursday's report, prepared for the council by engineering firm Beca Carter Hollings and Ferner, says that because the ground capacity required for the world cup is greater than that needed for other rugby events, temporary facilities should be provided where practical.

Under a $7 million option, the main field west would be shifted closer to an upgraded pavilion. It would include new lighting, demolition of the eastern stand to allow for new temporary seating to the east and south, and relocation of the current boundary.

The second option, estimated at $20 million, would involve relocating the playing field to the west and north, to allow for rezoning and redevelopment of the area currently occupied by car parking and club buildings. The report said this option would require extensive development of the western stand and pavilion to provide more seating.

The world cup has proved a strong incentive for councillors wanting to fast-track further improvements to the park.

In January, the committee supported a motion by Cr Aldo Miccio and community services committee chairman Cr Pete Rainey asking staff to prepare a project plan for a more extensive upgrade.

Nelson-based consultancy firm Splash Associates has been appointed to manage development of the bid to attract a share of the world cup action to Nelson.

The company's director, Siobhan Hanley, was to attend Thursday's meeting to give councillors an update on progress.

The Beca report said the opportunity to host a world cup event was a "unique opportunity" and a potential catalyst for further development of Trafalgar Park.

It said a decision on the scope and development option was needed by September.