Quake-rocked AMI Stadium in Christchurch could be repaired for $45 million, which will sink plans for a $500 million covered sports stadium in the city.
International geotechnical engineering experts have scoured the two hulking concrete grandstands that were damaged by the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes, and have found they can be cheaply fixed.
The stadium, on Christchurch's most famous sporting site, could be returned to its pre-quake specifications for "much less" than its $135 million insurance tag, they have concluded.
But the international ground's owners, Christchurch City Council, were yesterday in the dark over the move, as was the Canterbury Rugby Football Union (CRFU), who have been pushing hard for a world-class covered stadium in the rebuilding city.
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CRFU chief executive Hamish Riach said that if AMI Stadium was rebuilt, plans for a stadium with a roof would be shelved.
A covered 35,000-seat stadium was included in the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) central city recovery blueprint announced for the former Turners & Growers site in Tuam St.
Before the blueprint announcement, which was roundly supported by the Canterbury rugby fraternity despite the massive expected half-billion dollar price-tag, the council had this year aired a preferance for a smaller, cheaper uncovered stadium.
The city council's insurance policy states that a repair or rebuild must be done to the exact standards AMI Stadium was before the quakes.
It looks likely that the city council will come under pressure to accept a plan by its insurers, local government-owned Civic Assurance, to repair the existing dual-purpose ground.
"We've had it reviewed ... some external engineers have gone through it and we're of the view that it can be repaired well within the sum it's insured for," said Civic Assurance chief executive Tim Sole yesterday. Christchurch City Council was yet to be told of the "repair methodology", he said. APNZ