CCA fights council bid for legal costs

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2014

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Canterbury Cricket says it will face an "unduly onerous and unfair financial burden" if it has to pay the Christchurch City Council for the costs it incurred during the legal wrangle over Hagley Oval.

For months the council has been seeking to recover the costs it incurred as a result of the sporting body's resource consent application to develop Hagley Oval as an international cricket venue.

It estimates the application which, in a departure from normal practice, it referred directly to the Environment Court, cost it $224,000 in legal, staff and consultant costs, even though it was a neutral party to the hearing.

It has now formally applied to the court for recovery from the Canterbury Cricket Association (CCA) of 100 per cent of its costs.

But CCA, in a memorandum prepared for the court that has been obtained by The Press, says it should not have to pay the council's bills.

In the memorandum counsel for CCA, Pru Steven, said the council's application for costs was made on the grounds that it was Canterbury Cricket's desire to host the World Cup tournament scheduled in February and March 2015 that led it to directly defer the resource consent application to the Environment Court rather than follow the normal procedure of processing the consent itself.

Had it processed the consent itself, it would have been entitled under the Resource Management Act (RMA) to pass on all its costs to the applicant, CCA.

Stevens said that what the council failed to state in its application for costs was that it was the council itself that lodged the bid to host the World Cup in 2015 and not the applicant.

The bid was dependent upon the resource consent application from CCA being granted and the venue being developed within the time frames required by the World Cup organising committee's demands.

"Had there been no time constraints, as were imposed by the World Cup, CCA would have pursued its application to develop the oval in the usual way," Steven said.

"To impose 100 per cent of the council's costs would place an unduly onerous and unfair financial burden on the applicant."

CCA is also opposing a request from the Hands Off Hagley (HOH) group for it to pay 80 per cent of the costs it incurred - $75,837 - during the course of the Environment Court hearing.

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- The Press

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