Christchurch will get a new covered stadium which is large enough to host test matches and entertainment events, the Government said today.
Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said progress had been made on two of the city's rebuild projects, the stadium and the Metro Sports Facility.
A business case for the new stadium had been fast-tracked, allowing the council to begin the detailed work on it, Woods said.
The minister also indicated what the stadium's eventual size would be and how it would be used.
"Obviously, the final stadium design will be subject to a business case, but we foresee a roofed stadium large enough to allow the city to host major test matches as well as entertainment events."
A deadline of when the stadium could be finished was not given. Woods said it would be up to the council to decide in its long-term plan whether it brought construction of the stadium forward.
The Crusaders and other sports teams have been using the upgraded Rugby League Park since the 2011 earthquake damaged Lancaster Park beyond repair.
There have been growing calls for a larger, weatherproof stadium which can host All Blacks matches and also host large concerts – similar to Dunedin's stadium.
The new stadium is expected to cost around $500 million, and the council has already committed to paying half of that amount.
The Government is investing $300m to speed up Christchurch's rebuild projects, some of which will be in next month's Budget. The council will decide whether to spend that money on the stadium.
Woods also said today that Otakaro, the agency in charge of the anchor projects, had completed its detailed designs on a Metro Sports Facility.
The facility was meant to open in 2016 but has been beset by delays and a budget blowout of $75m.
Woods said the project's costs had been cut by $50m as a result of procurement and design changes, which included cutting back on cosmetic features, carparking space and scrapping plans for a childcare facility.
As announced in November, the facility would be opened in 2021. It will include a 50m competition pool and diving pool with 1000 seats for spectators, nine indoor courts, a gym and other facilities.
The anchor projects were started under the previous Government and are designed to encourage development and attract people back into the CBD, most of which was demolished after the earthquakes seven years ago.
Some of the projects have been completed, such as the Justice Precinct, the National Earthquake Memorial, and the bus interchange. Most of the projects are still in the planning or construction phase.