In light of issues at McLean Park, the Napier City Council has said delaying a returfing of the grounds slated for this year was "not ideal".

Earlier this week it was announced McLean Park would undergo a $900,000 upgrade to ensure drainage systems at the stadium were up to standard, after the upcoming ODI against South Africa was moved to Hamilton's Seddon Park.

An investigation into the abandonment of a Black Caps ODI against Australia on February 2 highlighted a need for urgent remedial work on the venue's turf, drainage and irrigation system.

Following the review - completed by Sports Surface Design and Management - council chief executive Wayne Jack said they were preparing to completely replace the turf.


They had budgeted almost $900,000 in the Long Term Plan for a full replacement in 2018/19, "however with the knowledge we now have, we're bringing this project forward into 2017".

But this work was initially slated to begin this current financial year. The council's long term plan allocated $849,000 for a McLean Park returf spread over three years - starting with $473,000 in the 2016/2017 financial year.

Between the document being published in 2015 and the council's 2016/2017 annual plan, it was decided to delay the returfing, with no money budgeted for this current financial year.

Instead, the annual plan shows $51,000 allocated for the 2017/2018 year, and $842,000 for the following year.

Asked why the project had been delayed, Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said it had been indicated the turf would last "another couple of years", until the 2018/2019 year.

"We knew sometime in the next few years we were going to have to do it," he said.

"But [the recent] prolonged dry spell has exacerbated the problem and so we are going to bring that programme forward."

Mr Jack said the funds had originally been allocated over three years in the long term plan to smooth the impact on rates.

When asked about the criteria for making the decision to delay, Mr Jack said McLean Park was maintained to the best of the council's knowledge and ability.

The council's statement on the upgrade noted the turf was old, had deteriorated dramatically in the face of recent drought conditions, and there were previously unknown issues with the organic matter beneath the surface of the park's ground .

Asked why these issues weren't found in the window between the respective plans being published, Mr Jack said the turf "appeared, largely, to be performing during events at the park".

"There were no known issues with the sub-structure of our turf and nothing that was causing any alarm or concern when we deferred the re-turfing project," he said.

"We have learned, through the independent assessment at the park, that this delay was not ideal and we're rectifying it urgently."

The assessors' report found the park's turf was no longer fit for purpose, and planning would start immediately on installing a complete replacement of this playing surface, as well as a drainage and irrigation system.

It revealed deterioration to the drainage that could only be addressed by installing a full replacement system.

A complete review of the stadium's outfield was done after the abandonment of a West Indies ODI in 2013.

Subsequent upgrades in early 2014 included slit drains in front of the Harris Stand to enable more efficient discharge of water from the playing surface.

When asked if this was enough, Mr Dalton said the council did what was recommended at the time, noting the best practice for building sports grounds changes over time.

"What was best practice when this ground was initially laid 19 years ago, and what was best practice in 2013, is not necessarily best practice in 2017."

The upgrades would improve the park to a high spec and standard, "one to two years ahead of when it might have been otherwise upgraded", Mr Jack said.