Island Life by David Slack


All stadium, all the time

A few interesting items, with more to come tomorrow, from a public meeting tonight in Devonport about everyone’s favourite stadium.

According to Joel Cayford of the ARC, they were told at their briefing last week that Warren and Mahoney hadn’t been given design specifications for the stadium. What they were asked to produce was a concept for a “Stadium Aoteaora.” They thought the name suggested a cloud, so they came up with a shape that connoted such a thing. Mallard’s people liked the shape but not the name, so it became Stadium New Zealand, but the cloud remained. I repeat: No Design Specification.

Another interesting item from local resident and long-time developer, Laurie Spindley:

He maintains there’s a builder’s rule of thumb that if you build something over water it will have roughly seven times the maintenance cost of the same building on land. He also claims the Hilton on Princes wharf is experiencing costly maintenance bills already.

Wynn Hoadley of the ARC says she pressed Mallard on the funding overrun. She says he proposed it would be split three ways: 50% by Government, 25% by ARC and 25% by ACC.

Architect Julian Mitchell not only painted a bleak winter tableau of the empty husk you might walk by in the rain, but also pointed out that the stadium would be fully three quarters the height of the unlovely new apartment buildings on the far side of the street. That’s very, very, tall.

More tomorrow, but I’ll leave you with a prediction: the ACC vote will only establish whether they will be willingly giving up their ratepayers' wallets. The whole thing will turn on how the ARC decide to lay their bets, looking at the Ports on one side and the Government on the other. I predict they will try to push the Government into making the IRB or NZRFU dig deep to come up with an 80 million dollar resolution of the 12,000-odd seat shortage for the final. They’ll propose that we do something splendid on the Tank Farm in due course, without suspending the RMA and democratic process and call it a National Stadium. This stadium would be funded by the government rather then the people of Auckland. That's the way they do it with ‘National’ buildings in Wellington.


A few more interesting items from last night's meeting:

The Al Qaeda card.
Councillor Ivan Dunn asked the not-unreasonable question: what happens in an emergency, and they all have to spill out one side? Say there is a bomb scare of the kind they had in Manchester? Less controversially, say you have a kitchen fire. In either case, could the need to empty in a hurry see people being caught underfoot?

Loyalty troth.
A remarkable number of speakers began their remarks with the declaration "I'm a dedicated rugby fan, but…." In a truly reasoned debate, should that be a consideration?

The origin of the specious.
Joel Cayford also offered his understanding of the origin of the problem: Going into the pitch, the NZRFU thought they were being expected to provide 55,000 seats. When they discovered the number was in fact 60,000, they did a back of the envelope calculation, costing the extra 5000 seats at the same per seat rate as the extra ones they were already expecting to be providing. Only later did they discover that this could not be done, and the costs began to blow out, at which point the government got leery and started asking what else they could get for their money.

When the slow clapping starts, you've cooked your goose.
Maryan Street had the unenviable task of talking up the Government position. She made a solid enough start, but the moment she came to the weasel words of the glossy brochure, she was done for. "Elevate our vision", 'Open up our beautiful waterfront" and "Democratisation of this piece of land" drew jeers, hooting and slow clapping.

That's not a vision, this is a vision.
Councillor Andrew Eaglen drew enthusiastic applause for his observation that some people seem to take the view that spending a billion dollars automatically makes something a "big vision."

One of the people at the meeting felt a little coy about sharing his own concept, but if you like the Waka Stadium then you'll love this. How about a Volcadium? You build a stadium right now, on a platform in the water to meet the 2011 deadline. Then you go on afterwards and wrap around an actual, honest-to-God simulation of a volcanic cone, properly grassed and planted with native trees and bird life. The whole thing becomes a hub for a massive network of underground trains and so forth. It's absolutely bigger than Ben Hur, but if iconic is your thing, then this guy's your man.

He's given me a mock news report that gives you a flavour of the thing, which I've posted here.

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