Here is a small sample from the letters page of the venerable Otago Daily Times last week.

"Who is paying for the demolition of the buildings and preparation of the site for the stadium? Has it been included in the $198 million or, as rumour has it, is the Dunedin City Council (ie. ratepayers) paying for it?" - Peter Ramsey, Caversham.
Peter Chin, mayor: "The costs of the demolition of the buildings and the preparation of the site for the stadium are all included in the $198 million."

"In all the triumphal utterances of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust, the Dunedin City Council and general supporters of the proposed stadium, one important matter seems to have slipped under the radar. Neither the DCC nor the plentiful opponents have made much of the fact the DCC has purchased Carisbrook from the Otago Rugby Football Union. Why?" - Calvin Oaten, Pine Hill
Jim Harland, chief executive, Dunedin City Council: "To assist the ORFU as anchor tenant in the new stadium and to secure a piece of industrial land for the future of the city."

"Every time I go home, I see junk by the motorway near Carisbrook ... it makes our city look trashy." - Ashleigh Vermeer, Abbotsford

Yes, stadiums new and old dominate the news agenda in Dunedin. It has become a city obsessed but, thankfully for the sporting community at least, the noise from the naysayers is gradually being drowned out.

On Thursday, Queenstown man Basil Walker failed in court to stop the Otago Regional Council granting the proposed Forsythe Barr Stadium $37.5 million. The Stop The Stadium protest group, led by Bev Butler, is running an increasingly hopeless campaign, resorting to stopping the direct debit payments for their rates.

A group of Columba College students, who are marketing and selling socks that say "Dunedin Stadium, get over it", were assigned buddies for last night's test for fear they would be targeted by anti-stadium folk, as good an indication as any of how divisive the debate has become.

The "vocal minority is still vocal, but less relevant", according to a local hotelier, like cabbies, always good judges of public sentiment.

The tide of public opinion has turned towards the new stadium on the waterfront. For Martin Snedden and his Rugby World Cup 2011 crew, that is exciting news. For sports lovers in Dunedin, and there are a few left, it is great news after suffering the indignities of the decrepit Carisbrook for far too long.

Dunedin deserves a new stadium. While it might be hard to argue that it deserves an annual All Black test for population reasons - Hamilton and Tauranga are more populous and the twin cities of Napier and Hastings represent a bigger population base - there is something special about test weekend in the southern city. It becomes a hub for the south.

Last year 12,000 visitors flocked to the city for the Tri Nations match against the Springboks, spending an estimated $13m. While that seems a lot, at close to $1100 per visitor, you can't argue about the way the locals embrace the test.

The fact they will soon be able to do so in a stadium they can be proud of, in a more accessible part of the city, is something they should celebrate ... eventually.