New stadium approved for Dunedin

After a marathon Dunedin City Council meeting councillors voted by a clear majority to commit to the Carisbrook Stadium Trust's vision of a roofed stadium in Awatea St yesterday.

While the $188 million project was given the go-ahead in a 12-2 vote, Mayor Peter Chin included an extensive list of conditions that gave the council the opportunity to opt out of the project.

The decision delighted trust chairman Malcolm Farry, who told a media scrum after the meeting there was "absolutely no doubt" the project would proceed.

After a long debate by the 14 councillors who attended, the council appeared locked up at seven for and seven against the project.

But a period of horse trading resulted in a series of amendments and eventually the 12-2 vote.

Plans unveiled in 2006 envisage a new stadium between Logan Park and the edge of Otago Harbour, seating up to 30,000 and covered with a clear plastic roof.

The stadium would be New Zealand's largest indoor venue.

Last year the Auditor-General carried out an inquiry into the project's funding because of the amount of ratepayer funds that might be contributed to the stadium, the relationship with a non-council-controlled organisation and the uncertainty within the region about council involvement.

The inquiry found the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council funding arrangements were appropriate as neither council had committed to fund it.

However, it said a formal and robust funding framework would need to be put into place should either council make a firm commitment to fund the construction phase of the project.

- NZPA

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