Temporary stand part of Christchurch cup bid

GEOFF LONGLEY
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012

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The possibility of a temporary stand at Hagley Oval for matches at the 2015 Cricket World Cup has been included in the Canterbury bid to stage games.

The Christchurch City Council has lodged a formal bid to host matches at the tournament, with yesterday the closing date. About 10 grounds in New Zealand (and a similar number in Australia) are expected to apply for the jointly-hosted event.

If the CCC and Canterbury Cricket do not secure Environment Court approval for the redevelopment of the ground or if the CCC decides against leasing the ground to them it is possible that temporary facilities may be used to stage World Cup games. This would go against Canterbury Cricket's stated goal to have Hagley Oval as the permanent home for the game in the province with a raised embankment, floodlights and a pavilion.

Opponents to the proposal have raised issues about commercialisation of the ground, claiming that would be hijacking it from its intended use.

"Our bid is a very comprehensive one and a lot of information was required, as you would expect, by the organisers," said Michael Aitken, general manager of community services at the CCC.

"But we had to put in some provisos, such as a temporary stand, because we are not certain of Hagley Oval resource consent."

Aitken said it was also possible that temporary floodlights could be used for matches as was done at QE II Park for the Fifa world under-17 football championships in 2008.

"It perhaps wasn't ideal but it did the job."

Aitken said that given the time frame involved it was expected the urgency would be applied for the Environment Court to hear submissions next year.

"We need to know where we stand within the next eight to 12 months and so do the cup organisers."

It is understood submissions to the Court close at the start of February. After that decision the CCC will decide whether to grant a lease to Canterbury Cricket and proceed with the $1.65m already set aside for work to raise the embankment and construct practice wickets.

"That process is not terribly complex and should not hold things up," Aitken said.

New Zealand's World Cup organiser Therese Walsh said the Christchurch bid was one of the first received.

She had not seen the bid detail yet but knew there were some issues surrounding Hagley Oval that were yet to be finalised.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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