CRFU still wants roof on stadium
A new uncovered, rectangular stadium seating 35,000 contains two of the three elements sought by Canterbury rugby bosses.
That was the sentiment from Canterbury Rugby Football Union (CRFU) chief executive Hamish Riach yesterday after news the annual-plan recommendation to go before Christchurch City councillors next week contained two things he had hoped for in a new stadium.
He said it was disappointing the recommendation was not for a covered stadium.
It was now a case of "wait and see" if that changed after the council debate or once the Central City Development Unit blueprint for the central-city rebuild was released on July 27, he said.
Mayor Bob Parker said he expected some changes to the council's annual plan when the blueprint was released, which could include the location of anchor projects.
Riach said having a stadium that could seat 35,000 would ensure big games, such as Bledisloe Cup or British and Irish Lions tour matches, were played in Christchurch.
It would also ensure people did not miss out on tickets because of fewer seats being available.
The CRFU believed a new stadium needed a roof to be successful. "As the second-biggest city [in New Zealand], we should have the second-best stadium," Riach said. He said he would prefer the new stadium was as close to the central city as possible, but not at the expense of the three key factors.
The council report said an uncovered stadium seating 35,000 built on the old Lancaster Park site would cost $241.5 million over six years, with $4m budgeted for the 2012-13 annual plan, $10.3m for 2013-14, $42.4m for 2014-15, $54.6m for 2015-16, $66.4m for 2016-17 and $63.8m for 2017-18.
A recent Opinions Market Research poll of 359 people in Christchurch and the Waimakariri and Selwyn districts, conducted by The Press, found a covered, 30,000-capacity stadium was acceptable to 40 per cent of respondents, but was not acceptable to 55 per cent.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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