Con­sider Rugby Park’s fu­ture be­fore fork­ing out $1.9m, council told

The Southland Times - - Front Page - Lo­gan Sa­vory

A con­sul­tant sug­gests the In­ver­cargill City Council needs to con­sider Rugby Park’s fu­ture be­fore throw­ing $1.9 mil­lion at it to fix it.

The report, which was writ­ten by Otium Planning Group and sent to the council and Sport Southland last week, says the park is un­der­utilised, main­te­nance is be­com­ing un­af­ford­able, in­vest­ment has been ad hoc, and the de­sign does not meet spec­ta­tors’ cur­rent ex­pec­ta­tions of a match-day ex­pe­ri­ence.

Spend­ing $1.9m to re­store the venue, with­out con­sid­er­ing fu­ture us­age, may not en­sure its long-term sus­tain­abil­ity, the report says.

Otium’s ad­vice is that a business case study should be done to de­ter­mine the venue’s fu­ture.

The business case should de­ter­mine whether a sta­dium of the scale of the park is re­quired in Southland. If the an­swer is no, then ac­cord­ing to Otium re­place­ment needs to be con­sid­ered along­side a fu­ture lo­ca­tion or al­ter­na­tive uses for the space if the sta­dium was to be de­mol­ished.

Sport Southland had asked Otium to review Rugby Park as part of a wider Southland Spa­ces and Places Strat­egy Plan.

Sport Southland chief ex­ec­u­tive Bren­don McDer­mott said the or­gan­i­sa­tion recog­nised Rugby Park was a key el­e­ment in the strat­egy plan, which was not sched­uled to be fin­ished un­til June 30.

Sport Southland and Sport New Zealand are pre­pared to help the city council with the cost of a business case.

Last year Rugby Southland was re­moved from its of­fices at Rugby

Park be­cause of toxic mould, as was the Rugby Southland Sup­port­ers Club. It was also re­vealed in Novem­ber that close to 1500 of the 3400 grand­stand seats were off-lim­its be­cause of safety con­cerns.

It has been rec­om­mended that the bleach­ers in the grand­stand’s west end be de­mol­ished and re­built.

The work was ini­tially es­ti­mated at $387,000. How­ever, council chief ex­ec­u­tive Clare Hadley told coun­cil­lors last month the re­pair cost would now be sig­nif­i­cantly more.

The Otium report es­ti­mates it would cost $1.9m to re­store Rugby Park to its pre­vi­ous stan­dard.

Rugby Park will be dis­cussed at both an ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing and the in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices com­mit­tee meet­ing on Mon­day.

Coun­cil­lor Nobby Clark has tabled a mo­tion that asks that ‘‘the chief ex­ec­u­tive be in­structed to un­der­take re­me­dial work at Rugby Park Sta­dium, to be com­pleted no later than June 2020’’.

Clark told The Southland Times that re­mov­ing the mould could hap­pen be­fore the bleacher work took place, which would al­low Rugby Southland to re­turn to its of­fices.

A report pre­pared by Hadley, in re­sponse to Clark’s mo­tion, said all the work was nec­es­sary or wa­ter leaks would con­tinue.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.