Another legal battle looming over Hagley Oval

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2013
John Key

LONE VOICE: A single protester penned displeasure at John Key turning the first sod for the new Hadlee Pavilion at Hagley Oval.

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And the Hagley Oval saga rolls on.

Just hours after Prime Minister John Key ceremonially turned the first sod for the new Hadlee Pavilion which will look over three matches and the opening ceremony of the 2015 Cricket World Cup (CWC), tournament organisers have had to defend themselves.

Save Hagley Park is accusing them of trying to sneak in changes to the "very strict conditions" enforced by the Environment Court.

CWC has applied for a certificate of compliance to change the amount of days the temporary facilities need to be up for during the 2015 tournament.

CWC wants to have the temporary infrastructure up for 46 days from January 19 to March 5.

That would cover two televised warm-up matches, the opening ceremony and three games including the tournament's first between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on February 14, 2015.

The Environment Court decision allows for installation between one and three days before each fixture, depending on the type of structure, and a one- to three-day pack-down after each event.

CWC would prefer to leave them up through the tournament.

Save Hagley Park spokesman Martin Meehan argued Canterbury Cricket, which fought for the development, and CWC could have appealed against the Environment Court decisions and conditions around how many days facilities could be up for, but chose not to because this was an easier option.

CWC New Zealand boss Therese Walsh defended her organisation's actions.

World Cup requirements were not fully known at the time of Canterbury Cricket's application, she said.

CWC was an interested party, not an applicant.

"Canterbury Cricket tried their best with the limited information that was available at the time," Walsh said. "This is a minor technicality. I wouldn't have thought it was an issue.

"It would be crazy for Cricket World Cup not to go ahead in Christchurch because it would take a few extra days for us to set up the facilities we need and to do so safely."

To avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest, the Christchurch City Council has appointed an independent commissioner to make the decision which is due before January 20 next year.

Meanwhile, the demolition of the High School Old Boys clubrooms at Hagley Oval is set to begin before or just after Christmas and the new pavilion is hoped to be finished by September 30 next year.

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