Stadium report grim news for Christchurch

Christchurch's AMI Stadium will need "unprecedented" repairs, and the Hadlee Stand must be demolished.

The Christchurch Convention Centre is also on the demolition hit list, while the future of the Town Hall is uncertain.

The Christchurch City Council yesterday revealed engineers' assessments of the earthquake-battered structures.

AMI Stadium suffered major structural damage and its grounds were damaged by liquefaction.
AMI Stadium suffered major structural damage and its grounds were damaged by liquefaction.

Cr Sue Wells said AMI Stadium would not be available for next year's rugby season.

However, rugby officials said they were committed to having the Crusaders play their home games in Christchurch and were exploring venue options.

Engineers have recommended AMI's Hadlee Stand be demolished, while the Paul Kelly and Deans stands will need major repair work.

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: The Paul Kelly Stand and the Deans Stand have dropped significantly at AMI Stadium.
DON SCOTT/The Press
UNCERTAIN FUTURE: The Paul Kelly Stand and the Deans Stand have dropped significantly at AMI Stadium.

A report on the stadium, prepared by Alan Reay Consultants, said it would be "exceedingly difficult and uneconomic" to repair the Hadlee Stand because of the level of damage.

The Paul Kelly Stand and the $60 million Deans Stand had dropped up to 40 centimetres, while the floors of both stands were uneven.

The repair work required was "unprecedented" in New Zealand, and rare worldwide, the report said.

Possible methods to relevel the stands included driving piles 25 metres into the ground, pumping grout into the area below the stand or using hydraulic jacks to lift the stands.

"Each of the relevelling methodologies investigated to date have been developed in concept only,'' the report said.

"Further design, planning and the successful completion of trials may help to provide some confidence ... However, their effectiveness will not be known until the full-scale relevelling of the structures is attempted."

The report said reinsuring the stadium could be "difficult or unachievable", even if repairs were successful.

Wells said the stadium assessment "puts a bit of a knot in your gut".

She defended the delay in releasing stadium information, saying the council wanted to commission further geotechnical reports and consider other solutions.

"We wanted to look to see if there were any other options to get rugby here, even as a temporary thing."

She said engineers were still assessing the remediation options and the cost, and the council would want assurances the stadium could be reinsured before the work went ahead.

Wells said engineers had recommended the Convention Centre be demolished because of significant liquefaction damage and lateral spreading.

The council was still talking to insurers about the building, but an agreement was likely soon.

The Town Hall had "considerable" liquefaction damage, and the Boaters wing had separated from the main building by about 10 centimetres.

Wells said the council was unlikely to make a final decision on the hall this year.

The building's heritage status would need to be taken into account, she said.

"If it is able to be repaired, to what extent can we maintain the heritage fabric within the building? If, in saving it, you have to ruin it, what have you saved?"

She said the council would continue to talk to insurers about the three facilities and would provide public updates. However, final decisions would be "some months away".

Meanwhile, Canterbury Rugby Football Union chief executive Hamish Riach said the Crusaders were "utterly determined" to play in their home town next year.

Alternative sites, including Rugby Park in St Albans, Rugby League Park in Addington and Riccarton Racecourse, were being considered.

The union wanted to be "a long way down the road" to finding a site by the end of the month, because of planning and logistics requirements.

The Press