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What's up with the new rugby stadium?

Nick Brown
Rugby Stadium graphic
SOURCE: Otakaro Ltd

Ever since the earthquakes put AMI stadium out of commission, the main debate among most Cantabrians is when we will get a new stadium.

While the temporary stadium in Addington has served its purpose, Christchurch has lost quite a bit of revenue from the entertainment sector and needs a new breath of life. Now, plans have been revealed about the new stadium that has been in discussion for many years.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Christchurch stadium:

 

FIGURE 2 Nick

 

  • In April of last year, a new multi-purpose stadium was officially given the green light for planning and is being planned for the central city in a block of land bounded by Madras, Barbadoes, Hereford and Tuam streets.

  • In September, the Christchurch City Council fast-tracked the new stadium to hopefully be signed off by June of this year, begin construction in 2020 and have it completed by 2023.

  • 3 different options were submitted to the council, ranging in price between $384m and $561m. The preferred option sits at $473m

  • If accepted, the Crown will give $220m in funding for the project. The Council have also committed $253m to the stadium over several years in its long-term plan

  • The current rugby stadium in Addington has 18,000 seats, the new stadium is expected to have 25,000 seats with the option to add 5,000 temporary seats for other events.

  • A recent concept design is based on a clear ETFE plastic roof (similar to that of Dunedin's Forsyth Barr stadium) over the majority of the building, but a solid roof over the southern end to about the 22-metre line of the rugby field.

 

FIGURE 3 Nick

 

Of course, this new stadium comes with its pros and cons

PROS:

  • The new stadium will help boost interest in attending live rugby games again. Recent games at the rugby stadium in Addington have seen a drop in attendance over the years, so perhaps a new stadium will reignite the support for Canterbury rugby.

  • The construction of the stadium will create jobs for labour workers and tradies.

  • The new stadium means more events for Christchurch. With the ability to host concerts and other sporting events, the stadium will help boost Christchurch’s economy, creating new jobs and pumping more money into the entertainment and hospitality industries. (FUN FACT: when Ed Sheeran came to perform in Dunedin at Easter last year, the city as a whole generated $38 million from the Easter weekend alone.)

 

 CONS:

  • Most of the money paying for the stadium’s construction is coming out of ratepayers wallets. The final bill for the stadium could go over the $473m estimate, as shown by the Christchurch Cathedral estimating $103m but possibly rising up to $150m.

  • There are always risks when constructing a new building. If a delay were to happen and the completion would not be ready by the 2023 super rugby season, it could create public backlash.

 No matter what happens, Christchurch will eventually be getting a new stadium. It’s now up to the City Council to decide if this is the right one to go with.