Up­grades planned for the sta­dium

Chiefs plan for cor­po­rate suites at FMG

Hamilton News - - Front Page - Tom Row­land

New Zealand Super Rugby team the Chiefs are tak­ing up­grades of FMG Sta­dium into their own hands, de­spite some early con­cerns from Hamil­ton coun­cil­lors.

The Chiefs plan to in­stall 14 new con­tainer-style cor­po­rate suites which will ac­com­mo­date up to 20 peo­ple each on the eastern end of the ground.

The Chiefs will own the boxes, and will pay all build­ing and in­stal­la­tion costs and the main­te­nance costs. Coun­cil will need to spend $15,000 fora re­source con­sent fee, but will gather rev­enue from rental and cater­ing com­mis­sions.

The Chiefs are the key hirer of FMG Sta­dium. Their cur­rent hire agree­ment ex­pires on Septem­ber 30, 2020 with a right of re­newal for a term based on their li­cense to op­er­ate a Super Rugby fran­chise.

A key prob­lem raised by coun­cil­lors was a tem­po­rary stand, if one was needed to be in­stalled for an event.

A tem­po­rary stand can add an ad­di­tional 5000 seats to the sta­dium, but the re­source con­sent to con­struct one ends this year and the coun­cil will not be reap­ply­ing.

How­ever, if a tem­po­rary stand was needed again, the cor­po­rate suites could be re­moved in part or whole.

Coun­cil also wanted more in­for­ma­tion around the costs go­ing into the project, and amended the mo­tion that the project would be brought back be­fore coun­cil be­fore a fi­nal sign off, so coun­cil­lors could look at the full costs and the re­source con­sent for the cor­po­rate host­ing fa­cil­ity.

Coun­cil­lor James Cas­son was the only coun­cil­lor against the mo­tion, how­ever when his amend­ment failed he changed his vote to sup­port the mo­tion.

“I see this as a re­ally good busi­ness plan. The Chiefs do bring a lot of money into the city. If you make things hard for peo­ple they can ac­tu­ally move around,” Cr Cas­son said.

“I think mak­ing things harder and ty­ing it up it is quite ridicu­lous.”

He was in the mi­nor­ity, as coun­cil­lors wanted to see the costs be­fore mov­ing onto the next stage.

Coun­cil­lor An­gela O’leary said the mo­tion showed the Coun­cil’s due dili­gence.

“Our role is to get the best deal for this city, and for peo­ple like the Chiefs, our role is to ask ques­tions and add value and that is what the mem­bers in this cham­bers have asked to­day,” Ms O’leary said.

Coun­cil­lor Garry Mal­lett also sup­ported the mo­tion as he wanted the sub­ject to come back be­fore coun­cil.

Mayor An­drew King said the city’s part­ner­ship with the Chiefs was a healthy one for the city.

“Whether you like it or not rugby union is the sport of our coun­try, and a lot of the chil­dren see these play­ers as he­roes and icons,” Mayor King said.

“This pro­posal is about de­vel­op­ing the sta­dium fur­ther and bring­ing in more rev­enue for our ratepay­ers.”

Photo / Hamil­ton City Coun­cil.

The pro­posed suites will go at the Wil­loughby park side of the sta­dium.

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