Region's 'home of sport' reopens after flood
Stadium up and running for Masters GamesADAM ROBERTS
Saxton Stadium is nearly ready for its first major competition since flooding closed its doors in April: next month's NZCT South Island Masters Games.
Sport Tasman staff were yesterday busy moving back into their offices, badly damaged in the April flash flooding.
The 35 staff, including some from individual sporting codes, had been operating in temporary offices in the netball pavilion.
That space will now be set up to act as a registration area for the games, which run from October 5 to 13.
About 2500 people from around the South Island are expected to descend on the stadium for the games, enrolling in 50 different activities.
They will be catered to by about 300 volunteers, with the stadium acting as Games Village.
The $12 million stadium was closed indefinitely after flash flooding in April submerged the $500,000 "floating" hardwood floor in contaminated water, bowing the wood and making the surface unusable.
The flooding also damaged offices used by Sport Tasman, with the ceiling collapsing in one area.
Chief executive Nigel Muir said getting the stadium ready for the Masters Games had been a clear goal from the beginning of the flood recovery, and everyone had worked exceptionally hard.
The first week had been about "responding to mother nature", with most of the Sport Tasman team with mops, buckets and ‘squeegees' on the front-line of the clean-up effort.
But after that initial effort, the organisation's focus shifted to accommodating the various sporting codes in alternative venues, at the busiest time of the year.
The disruption had a significant impact on several sporting codes, he said.
Netball had lost at least 20 teams, and volleyball about a dozen, as it became too hard for teams to travel around the various locations the games had been moved to.
Some staff and athletes had experienced the impact of the floods in their own homes, so being able to provide some normality through sport was important, he said.
"So much uncertainty comes with disasters, it really does give you some understanding of what Christchurch has been through."
This will be the second time Nelson has hosted the Masters Games. Two years ago 2900 athletes competed, making it one of the biggest sporting events in the country. The games cost $310,000 to run and broke even.
A report showed that the Nelson economy benefited, with an estimated income from the games of $1.4 million.
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