3 Sep 2013

Residents seek rugby stadium delay

8:26 am on 3 September 2013

Some residents of rugby-loving Christchurch have serious reservations about the need for a $500 million rugby stadium and calls are growing for it to be delayed.

The Canterbury and New Zealand rugby unions support the Government's proposal for a 35,000 seat covered stadium but ratepayers are wary of the cost.

The city council, which is already $2 billion in debt, is committed to paying for 40% of the new stadium at a cost of $253 million.

Former councillor David Close says the city cannot afford its share of the project and suggests delaying it for a decade.

Reverend Mike Coleman, who advocates for quake-affected residents, says people are really angry about the new stadium.

"They cannot see why we are trying to rebuild a stadium for the 2017 Lions tour when we've already got a stadium that we can't even fill for the semi-final of a major rugby competition, and we've got a stadium we've been told can be repaired," he says.

AMI Stadium Trust, which runs Christchurch's temporary rugby grounds, says the Government should think hard about asking the city for such a large financial commitment.

Chairman Jim Anderton says with a bit of money spent on it, the temporary stadium could last another 10 years.

The Crown says it is still to look at other funding sources, which will determine the scope of the project.

That scope, including whether the stadium is covered or uncovered, will be determined by June 2016.

Central City Development Unit director Warwick Isaacs says because Christchurch already has an interim stadium, the new stadium has a lower priority among the anchor projects.