Lancaster Park to be deconstructed in December, future-use remains unclear

The demolition of Lancaster Park will take a year to complete.
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

The demolition of Lancaster Park will take a year to complete.

Work to deconstruct Christchurch's Lancaster Park will start in December, but its long-term fate remains unclear.

The Christchurch City Council announced on Monday that its venue management company, Vbase, would pay for the demolition, but the council was unable to say how much the work would cost ratepayers.

The job would take a year to complete. No decisions had been made yet on the future use of the site, the council said.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says seeing the park's future confirmed is "sad".
GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says seeing the park's future confirmed is "sad".

City councillors and staff met behind closed doors to discuss demolition options last week. The deconstruction decision was made at that meeting.

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Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said confirmation of the park's deconstruction was "sad".

"I don't have too much of an attachment to the modern stands.

"I remember standing on the embankment when I was very young watching the rugby, so I think a lot of people will have a lot of memories like that," she said.

As much material as possible would be salvaged and recycled. The other deconstruction options considered had been "straight demolition agreements", Dalziel said.

"We'll manage the deconstruction ourselves and that way we get the benefit of the salvage and any recycling," she said.

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A process would be undertaken to decide what the ground would be used for after the stadium was dismantled.

"We're expecting a paper to come to council in April, which will set out the process for future-use.

"It's covered by statute . . . [which] basically says that the land has got to be continued to be used for sporting or equivalent activities."

She had already been approached by the Lancaster Park Cricket Club, which was keen to make the ground its home again.

Deconstruction would be managed by the city council and Vbase, which owns the earthquake-damaged ground.

Planning for the deconstruction will start immediately and the job, which will take about a year to complete, is likely to begin in December.

"Having direct control of the deconstruction also means we can ensure the local community is engaged in the process and kept informed along the way," project director Lee Butcher said.

Vbase general manager Darren Burden said the company was "pleased to now have a clear path forward".

Vbase would fund the capital cost of the deconstruction, but that would be off-set by savings because Vbase no longer needed to spend money maintaining Lancaster Park and keeping it secure.

The council and Vbase would seek tenders from companies wanting to help complete the deconstruction, so the estimated cost of the work would not be released for now.

Quantity surveying firm Rawlinsons was commissioned to gauge the extent of the earthquake damage to the stadium.

Its report found re-commissioning Lancaster Park so it could hold top international rugby games would cost between $252 million and $275m.

Repairing the park's damaged foundations would cost between $39m and $49m.

Last December, ground engineering firm Mainmark, responsible for re-levelling the Christchurch Art Gallery, said it could do the same at Lancaster Park for less than $30m.

However, the company could not say if the stadium's actual structure could be repaired.

Lancaster Park was 6 kilometres southeast of the epicentre of the February 2011 earthquake.

The Hadlee Stand was demolished because it was considered unsafe and the remaining stands sustained severe damage.

The park's war memorial gates would be protected and preserved during the deconstruction.

 - Stuff

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