Public shut out on stadiums

By Bernard Orsman


Plans to shift the Warriors to Eden Park and build a $20 million venue for test cricket at Western Springs may proceed without the public having a proper say.


A two-year project on the future of the city's big stadiums comes back to the council on Thursday, with the sporting codes no nearer to agreeing on officials' recommended options.


The Warriors have reservations about the high cost of shifting to Eden Park, which is cash-strapped and weighed down by debt in the wake of the Rugby World Cup euphoria.


Auckland Cricket wants to stay at Eden Park and speedway is considering a move to Mt Smart Stadium - something that worries Athletics Auckland.


After councillors voted in September to give Aucklanders a say on the stadium plans, council executives have recommended a "targeted approach" to community consultation.


By "community", they mean the affected sporting codes (the rugby league, speedway), Western Springs and Eden Park communities, plus the relevant local boards.


Consultation would be via the council website next March. There are no specific plans to involve the wider public.


Councillor Cathy Casey said she understood the September decision for "community consultation" meant the wider public. "People want to have a say whether they live next to Eden Park or 30km away," she said.


The issue of public consultation divided councillors 11-7 in September and was privately regarded by Regional Facilities Auckland, the council body overseeing the review, as unnecessary and a further delay.


A paper prepared for Thursday's meeting recommends Eden Park as the city's premier stadium and used for big Warriors matches.


Mt Smart would be upgraded for about $25 million for Warriors attendances of fewer than 20,000 or as a venue for speedway and big concerts. Western Springs would become the home of test cricket with a new pitch, pavilion and grassed embankments costing $20 million.


A further recommendation is to build a speedway practice track at Colin Dale Park in Manukau.


Stadium moves?


Eden Park - rugby and big league matches


Mt Smart Stadium - smaller league matches/athletics/speedway/big concerts


Western Springs - test cricket


Colin Dale Park - speedway practice

- THE AUCKLANDER

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