Cowles Stadium reopens after repairs

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 12:39 12/10/2012
Cowles Stadium
CARYS MONTEATH/Fairfax NZ

REOPENED: Players from the Canterbury under-17 and under-19 representative basketball teams try out the newly repaired Cowles Stadium.

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The newly repaired and earthquake-strengthened Cowles Stadium has been officially reopened today.

The Aranui stadium had been closed since a detailed engineering evaluation last year found it was quake-prone.

The assessment showed there was damage to the roof trusses and the building was below 34 per cent of the new building standard.

The Christchurch City Council approved a $480,000 repair bill to fix the roof and wall bracing of the multi-purpose centre this year.

However, the council decided not to fix the land beneath the Pages Rd facility.

A geotechnical report showed the land under the building had settled and that 100 per cent of the code could be achieved without remediation.

Remediation and foundation repairs were estimated to cost $3 million to $5m and required an insurance settlement that could have taken 18 months to finalise.

The decision means the stadium has only a 20-year consent, but the consent can be extended if the land is remediated later.

Mayor Bob Parker and council community services general manager Michael Aitken officially opened the facility this morning.

The Canterbury under-17 and under-19 representative basketball teams were the first to use the complex, playing three-on-three games.

"It's absolutely exciting," said Angela Wanoa, of Hornby, who used to visit the stadium with her daughter Terina, 16, every week before the quakes for basketball.

"It's been hard having to play in so many different places and the courts here are really good. The place is nice and fresh."

Basketball player Tim Brown, 17, was glad to be playing on his home turf again after having to practise and compete at other venues during the stadium's closure.

"It's basketball's home," he said.

Parker said rebuilding sports facilities was one of the council's priorities and Cowles was the first major one to be repaired.

"It's a great facility in the east and it's especially important for this community, but it reaches out across the city too."

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