Hagley Oval works launch amid controversy

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 08:10 17/12/2013
Hagley Oval
An image of the proposed development for Hagley Oval.

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It's been a polarising development, but Prime Minister John Key will officially start the upgrade of Hagley Oval today.

Key will turn the first sod on the new Hadlee Pavilion to the east of the cricket wicket today, according to Canterbury Cricket, who have driven the ground development.

The new pavilion, named after arguably Canterbury's most famous sporting family, is expected to be finished by September next year.

A grass embankment will also be built up around the cricket pitch before the ground hosts three matches in the 2015 cricket World Cup, including the first match and the opening ceremony.

The old High School Old Boys Cricket Club pavilion is expected to come down soon and the foundation for the new pavilion could be laid before Christmas.

The redevelopment of Hagley Oval, which first hosted a first-class cricket match in 1867, has been controversial.

Led by Martin Meehan, the Save Hagley Park group has opposed the proposed development from the start.

$224,000 bill for Canty Cricket possible

The latest development in this case is that Canterbury Cricket could be billed more than $224,000 to cover the cost of a ratepayer-funded legal challenge to the Hagley Park development.

The Christchurch City Council has been asked to fast-track moves to get the money back by either reaching an agreement with Canterbury Cricket or, failing that, filing an application for costs to the Environment Court.

The council was a neutral player in the Environment Court hearing that eventually gave Canterbury Cricket permission to develop the Hagley Park Oval into a first-class cricket venue in time for the Cricket World Cup in 2015.

The council report said the court hearing was "long and was complicated by what the judge considered to be gaps in the evidence provided by [Canterbury Cricket] and the number of submitters involved". The hearing took four weeks, followed by several more judicial conferences.

The council is already seeking $91,235.13 from the Canterbury Cricket board for costs it incurred before the legal challenge went to the Environment Court.

The cricket board is challenging that move.

Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon has not returned calls requesting comment.

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- The Press

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