Hagley Oval development gets the go-ahead
What do you think of the Hagley Oval decision?
Canterbury Cricket's controversial plan to develop Hagley Oval as an international venue has been given the thumbs-up by the Environment Court.
In a decision released today, Judge Jane Borthwick granted interim resource consent to develop the venue, subject to several conditions.
The application, lodged with the Christchurch City Council late last year, drew more than 200 submissions from the public.
It is unusual for a consent application to go directly to the Environment Court, but the council decided to bypass the normal decision-making process because of the controversy over the proposed development and the likelihood that any decision it made would be appealed to the Environment Court.
- No more than 13 match days allocated to major fixtures within any cricket season.
- The total number of days that temporary facilities and structures associated with major fixtures may occupy the oval are not to exceed 40 days a season.
- Two or more major fixtures may be scheduled within the same week, provided that on each occasion the total number of days that temporary facilities and structures may occupy the oval shall not exceed 14 consecutive days.
- No more than two fixtures exceeding 12,000 spectators may be scheduled in any three-year period.
- The 2015 World Cup matches are not to be counted within the 13 match days. The condition limiting the use of temporary grandstands is not to apply to any fixtures that are scheduled as part of the World Cup. Two World Cup fixtures may be scheduled from Monday to Thursday inclusive; otherwise the fixtures are to be scheduled from Friday to Sunday.
- The light headframes are to be removed at the end of the cricket season.
The decision means Canterbury Cricket can push ahead with plans to get the venue ready in time for the 2015 World Cup.
Tournament organisers said last month that the city would host the opening match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on Valentines Day 2015, plus two other pool games.
Two matches featuring England, the West Indies and South Africa will be staged at Hagley Oval.
A further four warmup and qualifying matches are scheduled for Christchurch and nearby Lincoln.
Despite the favourable ruling, World Cup games in Christchurch are still a long way from a done deal.
Canterbury Cricket will still need to get approval for lease of the land and a scope of works from the city council.
The council has yet to vote on the proposal.
During the hearing, Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon said Canterbury cricketers would benefit from the development long after the showpiece international tournament.
"The vision for Hagley Oval is a ground for all generations for hundreds of years," he said.
"The proposal meets the current and future needs of cricket in our city."
Germon said the proposal followed a 10-year search for a suitable venue and had been designed to have minimal impact on the environment while still meeting International Cricket Council requirements.
"Major fixtures will feature on Hagley Oval on a small number of days throughout the season but will provide wonderful opportunities for Christchurch as a city and the people of Christchurch in regard to exposure to major international events," he said.
Margo Perpick, for Hands off Hagley, which opposes the plan, said during her closing submission at the hearing that consent should be declined.
"When all of the effects of the international cricket venue application are assessed, it is more consistent with the overall goal of [the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan] to decline the application than to grant it," she said.
While an international venue might bring some social and cultural benefits, positioning it in South Hagley Park would have "so many and such significant adverse effects" that it would hurt the recovery overall, she said.
The month-long hearing was before Judge Borthwick and commissioners Anne Leijnen and David Bunting and finished on July 8.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Is cricket still NZ's top summer sport?Related story: Rain can't save Black Caps from big defeat