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Green light for Eden Park’s enhanced design

Green light for Eden Park’s enhanced design

The Eden Park Redevelopment Board today announced it had received Crown approval for an enhanced design for the redevelopment of Eden Park for hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Board’s chair, John Waller, said, “We have been working for more than six months to finalise details. It’s a result that Aucklanders will be pleased with - and the country can be proud of.”

Mr Waller says the new design has been costed at $240.5 million of which approximately 90% ($212 million) has now been committed.

The final design costs significantly less than the $385 million one for which planning consents were obtained earlier this year by the Eden Park Trust Board.

Today Cabinet signed off on the new design and re-confirmed the Government will underwrite the $190 million it approved last May.

The New Zealand Rugby Union will contribute $10 million.

In addition, agreement has been reached in principle for at least $12 million from the Eden Park Trust Board.

“Design issues are finalised, our construction programme remains on schedule, and we can now get on with the RWC 2011 preparations.”

Key features of the additional enhancements (please see release on design detail), include:

  • A new two-tier East Stand to replace the existing Terraces, which have only eight years of life left;

  • A new single bowl of open seating to replace the ageing Panasonic Stand;

  • Enhanced landscaping around the perimeter of the Park;

  • Improved sound proofing (with a new noise barrier);

  • A capacity of 60,000 seats for the RWC 2011; and

  • 50,000 seats post-RWC 2011 (down from the 54,000 proposed earlier).

  • A new design motif for the South Stand incorporating the silver fern;

  • A public concourse to link the ASB, East and South Stands;

  • A public plaza and concourse providing a link between Kingsland Station, the proposed coach/bus terminal, and the ASB, West and South Stands;
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Mr Waller says the final design strikes the best balance between the need to be financially responsible; to ensure the Park amenities are sensitive to the suburban neighbourhood in which it operates; and ensures that Auckland has a quality regional facility for hosting sporting and cultural events as a legacy from hosting RWC 2011.

Commitments to the redevelopment are still being sought from the Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council, and discussions are also underway with potential commercial partners and other funders for the balance.

“Those who have yet to make a contribution can now focus on the merits of the new design both for RWC 2011 and the long term. The redevelopment of Eden Park has national and regional benefits, and we hope that the final mix of contributions will reflect this. We will welcome others’ support in bringing the finance issues to a successful conclusion.”

The Redevelopment Board, which took over responsibility for the project in June, will be filing for variations to the existing consents, to enable the new design to be built, with Auckland City Council this Friday (21 December).

Mr Waller says the new design will ensure the Park is a “better neighbour” for local residents by reducing noise spill, ensuring crowds circulate within the Park and not via neighbouring streets, and by providing better transport links. Coupled with proposed long term governance changes, the park is going to become a regional asset for wider community use post cup.

Mr Waller says regular discussions will continue to be held with neighbourhood groups, and the project can now be kept to its original timeline for redevelopment (please see timeline with this release).

Mr Waller says that the green light for the design will also be welcomed in other cities and regions around the country because of the certainty it gives the tournament as a whole.

RWC 2011 will stage 48 cup matches and related events around the country. It will attract an estimated 70,000 international visitors, 2,500 international media, and 2,500 corporate and VIP guests.

It is estimated that the national event will add more than $500 million to the economy, including $262 million total direct expenditure in Auckland, according to a 2006 economic impact assessment by Horwarth Asia Limited.

Questions and Answers

Where is the money coming from?

Government $190 million
Eden Park Trust $12 million
NZ Rugby $10 million
Unfunded $28.5 million
Total required $240.5 million

How confident are you that you can close this funding gap?

Very confident. The gap does not take account of a possibly higher contribution from the Eden Park Trust Board, as well as possible contributions from Auckland City Council, Auckland Regional Council, other grants and sponsors and commercial partners.

Why are ARC and ACC not making a contribution?

The possibility of local government funding remains live. We will be continuing to work with both councils to see whether they will reconsider making what is only a very small percentage of the total construction cost. Given the legacy which Auckland will be left with the new design, we are hopeful that there will be a generally held public view by Aucklanders that some contribution is reasonable.

Do other stadium in NZ receive local body funding?

Yes. Waikato Stadium, Westpac Stadium and AMI Stadium are all operated by (or under trust/corporate structures), and were funded from, local government sources. The Dunedin City Council has proposed $60M of funding towards the redevelopment of Carisbrook. Eden Park has operated for 100 years without Council funding, but cannot now continue to be maintained without capital contributions from a range of public sources.

Who will own the Park after public money is put into it?

The Park has been a private trust operating for the benefit of Auckland Rugby and Auckland Cricket since its establishment. However, a condition of Government funding has been that there must be long term governance changes at the Park which will see the majority of trustees being publicly appointed, and the primary trust objective as being to operate the Park for the benefit of all Aucklanders. Legislative changes to the Eden Park Trust Act will be required to implement these changes.

Has there been a cost blow out?

No, the price for the Baseline Scheme (a new South Stand and temporary seats in the East and West) remains the same at $197M. The difference in costs relates to a materially different design proposal. The enhancements which will significantly mitigate any risks associated with consenting, will provide residents and patrons alike with a better functioning stadium, and will leave Auckland with a valuable legacy for future generations to enjoy.

What is the resource consenting process from this stage?

The Park was granted consents for redevelopment in January this year. That was a significantly larger, and more costly, development. As the proposed plans deliver all of the benefits of the new scheme (e.g. ensuring crowd movement is now internalised by creating public concourses), while having fewer negative effects (e.g. the stands heights are lower and the long-term capacity has been reduced from 60,000 – 50,000), we expect the variations will be sufficiently within the scope for it to be approved with no, or limited, public notification.

We have worked very closely with the city planners at Auckland City Council and we do not anticipate any significant problems that can’t be solved within our timeframe for commencing construction.

Are you expecting any reaction from the local residents groups?

We have maintained regular contact with residents throughout the redevelopment. We’ve invited any concerned resident to contact us for any points of clarification. Our consultation with the neighbours will be ongoing. While it is impossible to satisfy everyone with a development of this scale, we have maintained a very open relationship with residents and we believe the enhanced design is a better outcome for them.

What are the key factors that make this option better for the residents?

  • Lights will be located in the roofline reducing light spill with the existing lighting towers will be demolished.
  • There is an acoustic barrier that will reduce noise levels during events. The top portion of the barrier will be glassed to make it more attractive when viewed from the exterior.
  • A landscaped green buffer zone will provide a softening visual barrier for residents. This will replace asphalt and concrete.
  • Better access to the Park will be provided from four corner entry plazas, and patrons will reach their seats via an internal concourse. This means people won’t have to circumnavigate the park out on the streets to reach their seats.
  • The post cup capacity is reduced from 54,000 to 50,000, which is an increase of only approx. 3,000 to the capacity at the moment.
  • Improved public access (via an elevated public plaza and concourse) between Kingsland Station/Walters Ave, the stadium and the bus/coach terminal in the south west of the park.

Given the massive pressure on the construction industry is there a danger it can’t be built in time?

There will always be risks with a project of this scale and timeline. However, the Board has assembled a project team that has leading international designers, engineers and cost planners. It is also negotiating with Fletcher Construction for the main contractor role who have an unparalleled record in delivering projects in New Zealand. There are peer reviews of every stage of the project’s design and construction, and a Project Risk Management Group reviews all risks on a fortnightly basis.

To date every key stage has been delivered on schedule, and every indication is that the project will remain on schedule for delivery by the end of 2010. This leaves ample time for final RWC 2011 preparations.

What is the timeline for consents, demolition, start and finish of construction?

A project timeline is attached.

How confident are you that the $240.5 million will be the final price and won’t blow out ?

While there is always the possibility of minor changes with the budget, there is little or no prospect of a “blow out” for several reasons:

  • We have significant provision within the budget ($29M) for contingencies and escalations;

  • We are now into the third of five design changes and so the uncertainties are continually reducing.

  • The baseline scheme has not changed from the $197M in the 6 months we have been working on the design;

  • We are bringing the main contractor into the process early to minimise construction cost changes; and

  • We have experienced cost planners continually reviewing the budget.

Are temporary seats of sufficient standard to host a world class event like the RWC 2011?

Yes. Temporary seats (or relocatable seats as they are known as) are now part of all major international sporting and musical events. By way of example, the Olympic Stadium for London 2012 will have 55,000 temporary seats out of a total 80,000 seats. These seats are of the same quality and dimensions as permanent seats in modern stadiums.


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