Cost of fixing Napier's McLean Park sports venue expected to top $2m

Napier City Council is set to spend over $2m replacing McLean Park's turf, drainage and irrigation system.
PHOTOSPORT

Napier City Council is set to spend over $2m replacing McLean Park's turf, drainage and irrigation system.

An upgrade of McLean Park's turf and drainage systems is expected to cost Napier City Council more than $2 million.

An overhaul of the ground will be carried out next summer and is necessary to ensure the venue remains up to scratch for international cricket matches.

That status has been up in the air since February when a match between the Black Caps and Australia was abandoned because the playing surface was deemed unsafe – five hours after persistent, but relatively light, rain had stopped.

Umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Chris Brown check the playing surface ahead of the ill-fated ODI at McLean Park on February 2.
GETTY IMAGES

Umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Chris Brown check the playing surface ahead of the ill-fated ODI at McLean Park on February 2.

It was the third drainage-related cancellation of an ODI in just over three years at the ground, which is owned by the council.

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The council has previously budgeted $851,000 to lay new turf at the park but in a report prepared for Wednesday's strategy and infrastructure committee, staff said the full upgrade – including new drainage and irrigation at the ground – would cost more than $2m.

Head groundsman Phil Stoyanoff works on drying the out field on the day the ODI was abandoned.
PHOTOSPORT

Head groundsman Phil Stoyanoff works on drying the out field on the day the ODI was abandoned.

"A more accurate cost will be able to be established once the detailed design and design specifications for all components of work have been completed," the report said.

An interim report commissioned after February's abandoned ODI pointed the finger of blame for the drainage woes at the council and "poor management" decisions by ground staff.

Napier was scheduled to host an ODI between the Black Caps and South Africa in March, but the match was moved to Hamilton to avoid the risk of another McLean Park washout.

The Black Caps huddle on the ground during as fans wait before being told the match had been called off.
ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORT

The Black Caps huddle on the ground during as fans wait before being told the match had been called off.

Last month Napier City Council chief executive Wayne Jack said the planned turf, drainage and irrigation systems upgrade would turn the park into "one of the best regional/provincial stadiums in New Zealand".

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The work – including laying a pre-grown "hybrid" pitch combining real and artificial grass – is due to begin in November, at the end of the provincial rugby season, and should be completed by early January.

The council admitted in its new report the timeframe was "very tight" and raised concerns with New Zealand Cricket that it would not be completed in time for McLean Park to be ready for scheduled ODIs in 2018.

But council staff said they had been assured by the company doing the work that the ground will be ready by mid-January.

"Appropriate contractual mechanisms will be employed to ensure that the risk to council of timeframes not being met is mitigated," the report said.

 - Stuff

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