Cricket chief 'optimistic' on Hagley oval
A fresh proposal for developing the cricket oval in Hagley Park is being lodged with the city council in a last-ditch attempt to keep alive Christchurch's hopes of hosting some 2015 World Cup matches.
Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon yesterday confirmed a scaled-down proposal for developing the oval had been prepared following talks with the Christchurch City Council and the Save Hagley Park group.
Germon would not go into details but said the new proposal addressed many of the concerns raised earlier this year by those opposed to the initial concept plans.
Save Hagley Park spokesman Martin Meehan said he had been briefed by Canterbury Cricket on its revised plans but still remained vehemently opposed to the development.
They had reduced the size of the embankments around the cricket ground from 3.6m to 2.5m and reduced the size of the planned pavilion by about a third, but the building would still be two storeys high and visually intrusive, he said.
It would also set a precedent for future development in Hagley Park.
"We want cricket to get a new home - just not in Hagley Park," Meehan said.
The Christchurch City Council voted 12 to 1 against the original concept, costed at $20 million, and the project seemed dead in the water until the Christchurch Central Development Unit threw Canterbury Cricket a lifeline by including a redeveloped Hagley Oval in its blueprint for the central city.
That gave rise to speculation the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) intended using its special powers to ride over the top of the 1977 Reserves Act, the Resource Management Act, and the council so the proposed development could go ahead without the normal notification processes.
But last week Cera chief executive Roger Sutton ruled that out when he told councillors that advice received by the authority indicated it could not use its special powers to force the development through.
Germon told The Press he accepted the fate of Hagley Oval now rested with councillors but despite their initial opposition to the project he was "very optimistic" they would approve putting the revised plans out for public consultation.
If Canterbury Cricket could not convince the council to support the revised plans, Christchurch would be out of the running for the Word Cup hosting rights in 2015, he said, as there were no alternative venues available.
Councillors will get their first look at Canterbury Cricket's revised proposal next week when the community, recreation and culture committee meets.
The full council will vote on the proposal on November 8 - just days out from when Canterbury Cricket must put in its bid for hosting matches during the World Cup.
Germon acknowledged yesterday that Canterbury Cricket was running out of time. He said even if all went to plan, the proposed new venue at the Hagley Oval would only just be ready in time for the cup.
It was likely to cost slightly less than the $20m projected for the original concept but the final figures were still being worked out.
Council community recreation and culture committee chairman Cr Yani Johanson said a report outlining Canterbury's Cricket's latest proposal and the legal and financial implications would be released this week. A second report would also be released on Christchurch's World Cup bid.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Would you like to see a bike-share scheme in Christchurch?Related story: Free bikes plan for Christchurch