Smart thinking by city's council

By Celeste Gorrell Anstiss

Warriors chief Wayne Scurrah said league fans struggled to create an atmosphere at Eden Park, which had more than double the capacity of Mt Smart. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Warriors chief Wayne Scurrah said league fans struggled to create an atmosphere at Eden Park, which had more than double the capacity of Mt Smart. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Sports clubs unhappy at stadium plans

A major money-saving shake-up is on the horizon for spectator sport in Auckland.

The Auckland Council will meet next week to discuss recommendations which include booting Auckland Cricket out of of Eden Park to make way for the Warriors, making Mt Smart Stadium the new home of Western Springs Speedway, and moving Auckland Cricket to the Springs.

The recommendations were the result of a major report wich recently cited the stadiums were "not performing as well for Auckland as they could".

A consultation process would begin if the council forged ahead with the recommendations when it meets on Thursday.

The suggested changes have swiftly been met with opposition from the sporting world.

Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah said league fans struggled to create an atmosphere at Eden Park, which had more than double the capacity of Mt Smart.

"When it's not full, it feels empty," he said.

Sir Peter Leitch, who had just spent $100,000 relocating his memorabilia museum to Mt Smart Stadium, agreed: "I'd be really pissed off if they took the Warriors away."

And Waikaraka Park president Frank Irvine was not keen on having another speedway move less than 2km away. "We're basically the same," he said.

Likewise Eden Park Residents Association member Jose Fowler said he was uneasy with rugby league taking up a permanent home in his backyard.

"Historically, it's proven to be a completely different crowd of people that come to the league. There's more drunkenness and problems with the liquor ban, although we had a big league game recently without incident," he said.

Supercity mayor Len Brown said the decision was about the bigger picture.

"As a Warriors fan, I'd like to see Mt Smart stay the home of league. However I'm open minded ... We need to best serve the needs of Auckland while ensuring ratepayers get bang for their buck. Getting this right means we can make Auckland a sports destination."

- Herald on Sunday

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