Lancaster Park not for sale - Mayor

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 22/02/2013

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Mayor Bob Parker says the Christchurch City Council is in no position to sell Lancaster Park.

Statements in the Christchurch City Council's three-year draft plan and capital works programme suggested the $15 million land value of the damaged Lancaster Park was marked for the construction of the new city stadium.

That would allow the capacity to be increased from 30,000 to 35,000.

Last night Parker said that information indicating the ground, which was extensively damaged in the earthquake two years ago, could be sold was wrong.

He had since asked his staff to remove it before council met next week.

"That was a mistake - it will not be happening," Parker said. "We had worked through the draft - it had been raised but then should have been taken out."

A reference stating the council would provide a further $39.5 million to increase the stadium's capacity alerted councillor Yani Johanson to the error.

Any discussions around the selling of Lancaster Park needed to involve the community, Johanson said.

Johanson added he was against the stadium being boosted by an additional 5000 seats, saying he would prefer the funds from the sale of Lancaster Park to be contributed to libraries and cycle ways.

Parker said the fate of Lancaster Park was still uncertain. The council has been in discussions with its insurers.

The chances of rugby or cricket matches being staged at the ground again appear remote.

The Canterbury Rugby Football Union is in favour of a stadium at the new city site and Canterbury Cricket is seeking an upgrade of Hagley Oval.

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- The Press

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