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Bledisloe is best site for national stadium

November 03, 2006

Bledisloe is best site for national stadium –
Stop the scrum-screwing and get the facts on the table

“Heart of the City is pleased that building a better stadium on Bledisloe wharf is a clear option,” says Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney, “and now its time to get the facts on the table.”

“Heart of the City are champions for the CBD Bledisloe stadium option. Over the past two months we have committed substantial resource and funding into research and international comparator studies.”

“All along the way there has been a group of opponents to the waterfront option who have been keen for Aucklanders to think that Bledisloe wharf is not a viable option. We believe it is consentable, buildable, and fundable, all in time for 2011 and we are hoping that parts of the government’s technical reports will be released so that the public is dealing with facts rather than rumour and supposition.”

“Claims that we are going to end up with a 50-metre high stadium like the Allianz Arena, or that it is going to cost $700million, are totally unsubstantiated. We have been given advice that a well-designed stadium on the site could be 2/3 that height, say 35m,” says Swney. “That is less than some of the buildings already in the area, and less than the Eden Park option because it will be better-designed.”

“The Rugby World Cup will be great, but rugby is only the beginning. A well-designed national stadium at Bledisloe wharf will be a long term asset for Auckland and, indeed, all New Zealand. This stadium is about more than just sport. It is also about building an entertainment complex that is more comfortable for more types of events for more days of the year. It will give Auckland the opportunity to hold large-scale concerts, something that clearly can not be done at Eden Park,” says Heart of the City spokesperson Greg McKeown.

“There is clearly an area on the southern end of Bledisloe wharf that can be used without crippling Bledisloe terminal activity and revenue,s and without spoiling our waterfront.”

“In fact, building a stadium on the industrial port land actually puts a stake in the ground for a better CBD waterfront. It can be done on time and will be better value for New Zealand than $320million spent on a new stand at Eden Park”, says McKeown.

Heart of the City is a strong supporter of the Bledisloe option subject to good features and site-specific design. The organization believes there are many reasons why Bledisloe wharf is a better option than Eden Park:

* do-able - sensible transition, Tauranga, selective port redevelopment
* fundable - eg naming rights greater
* more sustainable - more events, more people, more days of the year – more revenue
* environment - is in industrial area, edge of what can be great CBD waterfront
* bookend – actually stakes the ground for creating better CBD waterfront
* regeneration of area
* multi-use - eg concerts
* transport - PT converges at Britomart - every day, without putting on extra services
* hotels, restaurants, bars
* entertainment experience - before and after matches
* 130,000+ CBD workers, students
* fillip to reshape Quay St and waterfront - eg complete architectural bridge at Te Wero, expand city circuit, easily done in time for World Cup

Heart of the City has also been a consistent proponent of establishing a great urban park on the headland of Wynyard Point, a proposal that has been met with strong approval from many planners, architects, and the Auckland public.

ENDS


Following pages:
Heart of the City
Diagram shows proposed location of the stadium and landmark urban park
Other options rank behind Bledisloe


Heart of the City

Geographically Heart of the City stretches along the central and west CBD waterfront and covers the whole CBD core. The organisation has

a broad membership of over 5,000 businesses but its constituency is larger. Working for the people who live, work and play in the city,

Heart of the City supports activities in the CBD designed to make it a more attractive destination for regional, national and international visitors. Heart of the City’s commitments and activities include:

* providing over $150m additional rate income to the city council to improve the CBD;
* working in partnership with councils: example - the free City Circuit hybrid electric bus service;
* bringing special events to Auckland: examples - the Cow Parade, Jafacabs and Coexistence;
* financially supporting major events: examples – NZ Fashion Week, the Santa Parade; and
* actively contributing views to council with the intention of improving the city for all Aucklanders.

Diagram shows proposed location of the stadium and landmark urban park

proposed location
of the stadium and landmark urban park

Other options rank behind Bledisloe

Eden Park
* compromised solution, not a legacy for Auckland at all
* design leaves a significant number of seats uncovered – stands, not stadium
* presence of cricket has so far compromised design for rugby, no retractable roof
* waste of $320m – extra stand, 12,500 seats – that’s really expensive
* waste of opportunity – just adding to facility rather than building a multipurpose entertainment centre that will be used by more people to see more events more nights of the year
* so its economic returns are lower
* primarily residential - the area has been previously designated an "area of stability" by Auckland City, not growth
* serious issues are arising regarding consentability – may be ahead now, but would fall behind as dragged through likely appeals – you can’t build a 44m high stadium in that area

Others
* Avondale racecourse - remote
* Victoria Park – it’s a great park
* Tank Farm – large urban park, industrial port space so much better
* Captain Cook / Marsden – blocks waterfront
* Mt Smart - along with skytrain-type rapid transit airport-stadium-cbd could be ok, but still lacks cbd advantages
* Manukau Harbour – environmental considerations, consentability, transport, entertainment?
* North Harbour – remote, another add-a-stand option
* Carlaw Park - has some merit, better than Eden Park - cut into domain, Parnell residents, parking, travelator, distance from Bmart ref daily buses and ferries


ENDS

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