Ericsson Not The Answer
20 April 2001
ERICSSON NOT THE ANSWER
A revamp of the Ericsson Stadium will not give Auckland what it needs to attract new events, revenue and recognition, says Auckland City councillor and former Mayor of Mount Albert, Frank Ryan.
He says the Auckland Regional Council is not playing by its own rules by insisting that the Ericsson Stadium, rather than a new purpose-built indoor arena as proposed by Auckland City Council, was all Auckland needed.
“A spade is a spade, and an arena is an arena – not a stadium. Let’s get that straight, for a start.
“We are talking different types of facilities, that meet different needs. The proposal for Ericsson is a covered football field – not a high-class, purpose-built entertainment centre.
“Also, Auckland City Council’s arena proposal is the result of a long and robust investigation using ground rules that the regional council helped to develop.”
Councillor Ryan says the regional council facilitated a selection process in 1998 to find the best site in the Auckland Region for a new sports and entertainment venue. The aim of the process, agreed to by all councils, was to avoid duplication of arena facilities in the Auckland Region.
Three sites were independently assessed by the Hillary Commission - the Ericsson Stadium, the Quay Park site proposed by Auckland City Council, and a site in Manukau.
“The Hillary Commission endorsed Quay Park as the best of the three proposed sites and an opportunity for Auckland to develop a world-class indoor venue.”
Further investigations by Auckland City Council, since 1998, had reconfirmed the business case for an indoor sports and entertainment arena with 10,000 to 12,000 close-to-the-action seats.
The indoor arena will cater for sports such as netball, basketball, tennis and gymnastics. It will have the space, acoustics and audience capacity for entertainment such as rock concerts and large family shows. It could also be used for conventions, banquets and exhibitions.
It would cost between $70 million and $100 million to build and would attract flow-on economic benefits to Auckland business of between $28 million and $50 million a year.
Auckland City Council’s Draft Annual Plan, released this week, includes a proposal to contribute $50 million to the cost of building the arena. The balance of the cost will come from a private sector partner, who will also operate the venue. At the end of 30 years, the venue will be transferred back to the Council at no additional cost to ratepayers.
Councillor Ryan says overseas experience showed that arenas work best when they are centrally located, within easy reach of public transport, parking, accommodation and central city entertainment.
“The Quay Park site is all of these things. It is accessible, highly visible and well located on the edge of Auckland’s central business district.
“We should get on and build it, and stop playing games which will just mean promoters will continue to bypass New Zealand.”
“I hope Aucklanders will respond to the poll and give us the facility tailored to the size of our audiences.”
For more information,
Councillor Frank Ryan, Auckland City Council, tel: 846 7917.