Drunk cricket fans 'may trouble hospital'
The multimillion-dollar Hagley Oval development could lead to drunk fans cutting through hospital property and creating "gridlock congestion", health board members say.
But Canterbury Cricket says it has mitigated any potential adverse affects the development could have on the hospital.
The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) said on Friday it would make a submission to the Christchurch City Council on the plan but a board spokeswoman could not say what concerns the board would formally raise.
However, in last week's hospital advisory committee meeting, member Anna Crighton said "quite a lot of people" had asked her to voice concerns.
"People have spoken to me about their concerns that the [Hagley] Oval might create noise, disruption, parking issues, drinking issues, or could see people cutting through hospital property," Crighton said.
The area was already congested and a lack of space and increased traffic could affect transfers from the emergency helicopter landing pad in Hagley Park to Christchurch Hospital's emergency department.
"I think there is quite a point there . . . it really could create quite a few issues, especially with gridlock congestion."
Committee member Andy Dickerson said while he loved cricket he too was concerned about the impact of the location on the hospital. "The absence of a traffic management plan for this part of the city is a real issue. The impact . . . [of the oval] on ambulance and emergency helicopter arrivals and transfers needs to be carefully considered.
"For some of our patients, every minute counts."
However, committee member and Christchurch City councillor Aaron Keown did not foresee any issues "as a direct result of the Hagley Oval development".
"The area around the hospital has major congestion and parking issues anyway . . . that's what needs to be changed."
Keown said the cricket venue would only attract big crowds twice a year for big events such as a Twenty20 game or test match.
Pressure group Hands-Off Hagley has hired a lawyer to argue its case in the Environment Court and the public has until 5pm today to make submissions to the Christchurch City Council on Canterbury Cricket's application.
No date has been set for the Environment Court hearing to consider the resource consent application for developing the oval.
Martin Meehan, of Hands-Off Hagley, said he shared "many of the board's concerns" and was "incredibly pleased" the CDHB would be making a submission.
He said Twenty20 matches often went "hand in hand with a lot of drinking".
"And people will pile out of the oval and then go into town and the quickest way to do that is to cut through the hospital," he said.
"There will be drunk people getting in the way of the ambulances coming through and it's going to be a problem."
Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon said Canterbury Cricket had sought to mitigate those impacts through conditions in its resource consent application.
A limit had been put on the number of events to be held at the oval, which already hosted events.
Germon said he would like to talk to board members with concerns, so both parties could "communicate clearly".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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