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Auckland City Leads Arena Investigation

Auckland City Council - City Scene

Auckland City Council is leading a regional investigation into the possible provision of an indoor arena, capable of hosting indoor sports and entertainment events.

The 10,000 to 14,000 seat arena, if it is built, will cater for events too big for venues like the Aotea Centre but not big enough for outdoor stadia like those at Albany and the Ericsson stadium.

Chairperson of the Council's City Attractions Committee, Councillor Victoria Carter, says the investigation is taking two parallel paths:

Expressions of Interest are being called from potential partners in the development of an arena. This process will determine the level of investment support for the concept from the private sector.
Residents and ratepayers of Auckland City are being informed and consulted about the arena concept to gauge their support and to seek information about what issues Council should take into account if the plan progresses.
"No decision has been made. The process we have embarked on is designed only to test both the event industry's and the public's commitment to such a venue, " says Councillor Carter.

"Council's role, if it decides to proceed with the project, will be to facilitate the development of a financially viable indoor arena on Quay Park, while negating or minimising the cost to Auckland City ratepayers."

The investigation follows an evaluation by the Hillary Commission in 1998 of three possible arena sites in the Auckland Region.

That evaluation, requested by the Auckland Regional Council to avoid duplication of facilities in the region, looked at the Ericsson Stadium at Mt Smart (proposed by the Regional Council), the Manukau stadium site (proposed by Manukau City Council) and the Quay Park site (proposed by Auckland City Council).

"The Hillary Commission's advice was that Quay Park, in downtown Auckland, is the preferred site because if its accessibility and its proximity to public transport, accommodation and downtown facilities.

"According to overseas experience, the site meets all the criteria for a successful arena position.

"The Quay Park site was secured by the previous council, through a 150-year-old lease from its owners, the Ngati Whatua O Orakei Maori Trust.

"The lease does not commit Auckland City - or any other party - to building an arena on the site. The site would be equally valuable and sought after for other purposes."

Auckland City Council's consultation on the arena concept seeks feedback from residents and neighbouring property owners about the need for the arena. It also asks what issues the council should consider when it makes its decision on the next step.

Information will be available through:
* Auckland City's web site: http://www.akcity.govt.nz/arenaconsultation

* An information open house: Quay Park Site (off Beach Road) 6 November, 10am - 3pm

* Reference centres: Parnell Library, Jubilee Building, Parnell Road, Central City Library, Lorne Street, Auckland 1, Waterfront 2000 office, QE Square, Queen Street.

Feedback is required by: 5pm, Friday, November 26, 1999.

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