Canterbury Cricket has put Sir Richard Hadlee into bat as it restarts its campaign to get an international cricket ground at Hagley Oval after being rebuffed by the city council last month.
Sir Richard stepped up for the association yesterday, saying its proposal was a "logical" decision.
"I know there will be people against it, but it's got to enhance what Christchurch needs at the moment," he said. Mayor Bob Parker and his council voted 12-1 at the end of last month that $1.65million earmarked for the ground in the 2012-13 draft annual plan not be spent until the council approved the scope of works to be carried out at the oval or elsewhere, and said the proposal from Canterbury Cricket did not satisfy it.
Only Cr Aaron Keown voted against. Standing yesterday with Sir Richard - who is on crutches after replacement right hip and left knee surgery two weeks ago - in front of the Hadlee Stand which is being demolished at the old AMI Stadium, Canterbury Cricket CEO Lee Germon announced its planned new two-storey pavilion at Hagley Oval would be named the Hadlee Pavilion.
It made it clear the association has not given up its fight to develop a stadium at the oval in time for the 2015 Cricket World Cup, in spite of growing opposition led by the Save Hagley Park group. The council has offered to arrange a meeting between the association and Save Hagley to look at the options.
However, Save Hagley spokesman Martin Meehan said after an an email from the Mayor on June 27 about this, he'd heard nothing. He emailed Deputy Mayor Ngaire Button about the meeting on Saturday, but hadn't received a reply. His group wanted a meeting, he said.
"We're keen, we're hot to trot."
Germon said he was happy to meet Save Hagley, but believed the plan cricket had presented was "quite a minimalistic design already" and in keeping with the oval. Asked what the association had to do to make its proposal acceptable to the council, he said: "I think they want to know the pavilion we propose, the Hadlee Pavilion, is solely to meet ICC requirements for example, and there's no surplus space in there, and we can certainly guarantee that. "And they just want, I think, an understanding of how the lights work, how we can make them non-invasive, they really just want more detail on it."
The ground would hold 15,000 people with an ability to bring that up to 20-25,000 with temporary seats.
The lights would be retractable on "about 25m" pylons which would elevate to 45m for matches. Designs like masts to celebrate The First Four Ships were among those looked at. Germon said cricket was on a very tight time frame and a council commitment was needed by the end of August if Christchurch was to host World Cup matches, with the ground to be completed by the end of 2013. Meehan said it was good the Hadlee family was having a new stand named after it: "The stand itself looks nice - but not on Hagley Park."
Allowing the stadium to be built would set a precedent and start the dismemberment of Hagley Park, he said. Similar concern has been voiced by the Civic Trust. "The public space should be for everyone to enjoy and not be exclusive," said chairman Neil Roberts. It was public land and potentially commercialism would come into the whole factor, and that was not what Hagley Park was set aside for.