Lancaster repair 'outstanding result'

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 15:48 17/10/2012
AMI Stadium October 17
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ

POSSIBLE: Engineering work commission by insurer Civic Assurance shows the former AMI Stadium can be repaired for $45 million.

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The Christchurch City Council would be ''crazy'' to refuse an offer to repair earthquake-damaged Lancaster Park, an opponent of the proposed covered stadium says.

The Star reported that engineering work commissioned by insurer Civic Assurance showed the former AMI Stadium could be repaired for $45 million, which would sink ambitious plans for a $500m covered sports stadium in the city.

A council spokeswoman said today that the council had not been told about the findings.

Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network spokesman Mike Coleman said today that Civic's plan to repair Lancaster Park was an ''outstanding result''.

''You would be crazy not to do that from a fiscal perspective. Let [Civic]) rebuild it and get it sorted,'' he said.

''We're in the beginning of recovery of the city, so the last thing you'd ever go near is a covered stadium, particularly one that's going to cost $550m.

''This is a wonderful opportunity to take pressure off ratepayers, who are being inundated with costs right across the city.''

Civic Assurance chief executive Tim Sole said the ground could be returned to its pre-quake specifications for much less than its $135m insurance tag.

''External engineers have gone through it and we're of the view that it can be repaired well within the sum it's insured for,'' he said.

''The grounds looks terrible, but you have to ignore that. The bulk of the stadium looks fine and you need someone to tell you it's not quite at the same level it was before.''

A covered 35,000-seat stadium in Tuam St was included in the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) central-city recovery blueprint announced with much fanfare in July.

A CCDU spokeswoman said the covered stadium was not a priority project.

"The design, cost and funding model is still to be worked through by the parties involved in the project, with the indicative schedule for it to be completed in 2017,'' she said.

Canterbury Rugby Football Union chief executive Hamish Riach said that if AMI Stadium was rebuilt, plans for a covered stadium would be shelved.

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