Hagley Oval wins $1m council backing
RACHEL YOUNG AND GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 15:30 29/08/2013
The Christchurch City Council's go-ahead for development of Hagley Oval has been greeted with "relief and delight'' by Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon.
"I'm absolutely delighted with the decision,'' he said moments afterwards.
Germon had been sitting in the public gallery for more than four hours waiting for the Hagley Oval lease debate.
Clearing that hurdle was another major step towards the city hosting matches in the Cricket World Cup in 2015.
He likened the wait to that of a pupil "waiting for their School Cert results''.
The decision meant the Canterbury Cricket Trust could get on with raising money for the improvements to the site, including a new pavilion and embankment.
Potential funders had been waiting for this decision, and Germon believed many would now declare their financial support for the project.
He hoped work would start on the site before Christmas.
The International Cricket Council needs the project finished by October 2014.
Germon's comments come after this afternoon's vote by city councillors to grant a lease for Hagley Oval and $1 million towards the construction of an international venue.
In an 11-3 vote, councillors agreed that Canterbury Cricket should be granted a lease and a building consent, and to release funds of $1.085m for work at the oval.
They asked that the lease contain a provision that the tenant satisfy the council chief executive it has financial arrangements sufficient to complete the project before construction starts.
In a written decision released this month, Environment Court Judge Jane Borthwick granted resource consent to proceed with the venue, subject to several conditions.
Essentially, Judge Borthwick ruled that Canterbury Cricket could build the structures it wanted, but she imposed strict conditions on the number and type of matches that can be played during the regular cricket season.
The next step was for Canterbury Cricket to secure a lease and building consent from the council, which it did today.
Cr Tim Carter said the Environment Court had thoroughly looked at the matter and mitigated concerns with its conditions.
Mayor Bob Parker said it was an easy decision.
He said Christchurch had an opportunity at the 2015 World Cup to show the world a city that was in strong recovery, as well as encourage tourism.
Councillors who opposed the move were Helen Broughton, Yani Johanson and Glenn Livingstone.
Speaking to councillors this morning, Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon said Christchurch would play a significant role in the 2015 Cricket World Cup, including hosting the opening ceremony and three games at Hagley Oval.
However, it was contingent on the council granting a lease and approving a building consent.
He addressed concerns about funding, saying fundraising was proceeding "very satisfactorily".
The Canterbury Cricket Trust would leave "no stone unturned" in fundraising once the council had given it the final tick, he said.
"It will be a legacy that the council will leave for future generations," he said.
Hands Off Hagley chairman Martin Meehan told councillors the lease application should be considered by an independent body.
He said councillors should be satisfied that Canterbury Cricket will have the financial resources to fund the whole project, should the council enter into a commercial contract with it.
In her decision, Judge Borthwick stated: "The proposal will contribute to the Christchurch earthquake recovery and promote the economic prosperity of Christchurch.
"Many in Christchurch will also regard the upgraded oval as a significant morale booster in that it will signal that the first of the proposed anchor projects is finally under way."
She said the development would strengthen the oval's existing character as a "village green".
ENVIRONMENT COURT CONDITIONS INCLUDE:
- No more than 13 match days allocated to major fixtures within any cricket season.
- The total number of days that temporary facilities and structures associated with major fixtures may occupy the oval are not to exceed 40 days per season.
- Two or more major fixtures may be scheduled within the same week, provided that on each occasion this occurs the total number of days that temporary facilities and structures may occupy the oval shall not exceed 14 consecutive days.
- No more than two fixtures exceeding 12,000 spectators may be scheduled in any three-year period.
- 2015 World Cup matches are not to be counted within the 13 match days. The condition limiting the use of temporary grandstands is not to apply to any fixtures that are scheduled as part of the 2015 World Cup. Two World Cup fixtures may be scheduled Monday to Thursday inclusive, otherwise the fixtures are to be scheduled Friday to Sunday.
- The light headframes are to be removed at the end of the cricket season. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/9 ... il-backing
Positive decision for Christchurch, finally they'll have a home for international cricket there.
A few interesting points though. It appears capacity is capped at 12,000 which is down on the 20,000 that Lee Germon has been saying. Allowing them to have 2 events in three years of more than 12,000 appears to be some sort of limited concession. I imagine this means Cricket NZ will have to be careful about staggering high-drawing matches to Christchurch such as T20I's or ODI's against Australia or England.
Allowing them 13 days per year for use seems fair. If you consider Christchurch will get a test + 1 or 2 limited overs fixtures in an average summer, plus 5 home matches in the domestic T20 competition it means that they will be able to use it for virtually all of the events where they can actually draw a crowd and make some money.
My other question is what will the ongoing cost to Canterbury Cricket be? Dismantling and re-assembling the lights, temporary corporate facilities, media facilities, etc. every season can't be cheap. I know they were incredibly keen on Hagley as it is on the edge of the CBD and is in many ways the ideal spot but perhaps a greenfields site could have been better value? It has seemed at times during this process that Canterbury Cricket had set their sights on Hagley and decided it would be there or nowhere.
Also the NIMBYism that has gone on here has been utterly insane. At no point was Canterbury Cricket trying to take over this ground and turn it into a 'stadium'. Essentially this very limited plan - an expanded pavillion, grass embankments and demountable everything else - was all they ever wanted. But the resistance of taking what is already a sporting venue and turning it into a slightly
better sporting venue is up there with anything I've ever seen to this point.