No plans to override council - Brownlee

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 11:47 13/11/2012
Hagley Oval
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Hagley Oval: This graphic illustrates the scale of the proposed oval in relation to Hagley Park.

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Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has ruled out overriding the Christchurch City Council on the Hagley Oval issue.

The council will meet on November 22 to decide whether it will support a proposal from Canterbury Cricket to install a raised embankment, floodlights and a pavilion at Hagley Oval.

The proposal for an upgrade of the ground has split the town, with vocal camps backing and opposing the development.

Any changes to Hagley Oval are subject to the 1977 Reserves Act and the Resource Management Act and would need to go through a public notification process unless Brownlee and the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) attempted to override that.

On Newstalk ZB today, Brownlee was asked whether the council's vote would be the final decision on the matter.

"The final decision about this also involves the people running the World Cup cricket because some of the haste to get to a date was providing a venue to host the opening match of the 2015 World Cup,'' he said.

''We will just have to see exactly where all that ends up. It's too hard to say. 

"We don't have any intention to override the council despite what some councillors seem to think.

''All we've done is put it in the plan so that nothing can be done on that site that is inconsistent with the activity that's been done there since [the 1850s]. 

"That's a heritage protection and to enhance that would be a great thing for the city, in my opinion."

Brownlee discussed Mayor Bob Parker's new book, describing it as an "interesting read".

"I think there's a perspective that's come directly from Bob as he saw things at the time or as he sees them now,'' he said.

"You know a lot is made of what Bob Parker and Gerry Brownlee say to one another and everything else. But look, you're in an environment here where everyone wants to get something done, so you're going to have fractures, and I don't think anyone should apologise for those."

He said he did not agree with "many of the things in the book", in particular that Cera made the councillors "politically impotent".

"I think chronologically it's right ... I was also around closer throughout that time, so it's interesting to see how other people were perceiving things at that time," he said.

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