The Case for Eden Park
22 November 2006
The Case for Eden
With just days to go before a decision is reached on the site for a stadium to host the Rugby World Cup in 2011, Eden Park Chief Executive John Alexander remains optimistic that public support and common sense will see Eden Park win the day. Mr Alexander said his team had been buoyed by the widespread support for Eden Park in media polls, and by the hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls of support received by the Trust Board.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us and made their views known publicly,” he said. Mr Alexander remains confident that Eden Park is the most attractive and viable option to host the Rugby World Cup.
“Eden Park offers Auckland and New Zealand an iconic, world-class stadium design, a rich sporting and social history, and certainty in our ability to deliver a Rugby World Cup venue on time and for a reasonable cost,” Mr Alexander said. “Our design is well-advanced, has been put together by world-leading stadium designers, and has been extensively refined following community consultation. It has also been signed off by the NZRU and the NZCC, making it fully compliant for the Rugby and Cricket World Cups.”
Mr Alexander said Eden Park had consulted extensively with the community and, despite delays as a result of the current situation, was still planning to go through a full public process to secure its resource consents. Eden Park’s resource consent hearing will commence 30 November.
“Our programmed construction start date of September 2007 gives us enough time to go through a full public process,” Mr Alexander said. “We don’t need any legislation to continue on our existing timetable.”
“Eden Park is committed to the RMA process it has already begun, is ready to present its case and to allow the hundreds of submitters both for and against to be heard in relation to it.
“Submissions were already heavily in favour of Eden Park and we’re confident that many of the people opposed will have their concerns satisfied by the new design concept.
“Our plans are sensitive to community concerns, featuring a lightweight, transparent appearance, community green space, and a significant reduction in noise and light spill. “The new completed design option also substantially reduces the shading effects of the development on neighbouring properties.”
Mr Alexander said Eden Park had $150m of existing, state-of-the-art facilities that would need to be replicated on a greenfields site, an established management team, existing tenants and sponsorship deals, and a business case that shows it can remain financially sustainable without requiring ongoing subsidisation after the Cup.
“Our proposed design is three-tiered and thus scalable for smaller capacity events, minimising ongoing operating costs,” Mr Alexander said. Mr Alexander said transport to and from the Eden Park of 2011 would be vastly different to the situation today, and comparable or better than any other stadium in Australasia.
The public transport facilities are expected to handle 45% of all patrons from day one with a target growth in the use of public transport of 75% of patrons. In addition to the upgraded rail services and bus hub on Eden Park, integrated ticketing will be introduced. “Eden Park is centrally located with good access to arterial roads and nearby rail facilities. With these good bones to work with, we have put a great emphasis on improving transport options for fans, including a transport hub and bus drop-off area, a connection to Kingsland station and an internal concourse that allows patrons to circulate inside the ground instead of on local streets.”
“Redeveloping Eden Park will also deliver the same economic benefits to Auckland, at a substantially lower capital cost than a waterfront stadium,” Mr Alexander said. A report by hotel, tourism and leisure consultants Horwath Asia Pacific Limited has concluded that irrespective of where the stadium is located – Eden Park or the waterfront - the economic benefit of RWC 2011 (estimated to be $240 million in additional GDP in the Auckland economy) remains the same. Similarly, the report concludes that a CBD stadium is highly unlikely to result in a material increase in the ongoing economic benefit to Auckland, beyond what a redeveloped Eden Park would deliver.
“Let’s not forget that the themes of ‘history’ and ‘security’ were central to New Zealand’s successful bid to win the Cup. No one can doubt that on these counts, Eden Park is the best option, the only certain option, and one that can be relied on to showcase New Zealand on the world stage.”