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Big guns roll out for Tank Farm
Thursday September 21, 2006
By Bernard Orsman

Auckland's waterfront is the wrong place for a stadium as the premier venue for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and a better downtown option is the Tank Farm, says the Institute of Architects' urban issues group.

The architectural body has released images of a 60,000-seat stadium - modelled on Cardiff's state-of-the-art Millennium Stadium - on land at the Tank Farm to the west of the central city.

The site is just back from the waterfront and bordered by Jellicoe, Halsey, Daldy and Pakenham streets.

Architect Ken Crosson said the urban issues group believed it was better to "lose" a stadium at the Tank Farm where it could be screened than place a stadium at the city's waterfront gateway.

The site was perfect in terms of public transport: 1km from the Britomart transport centre, close to the North Shore busway and also beside the motorway.

Former architect Steven Smythe, another supporter of the Tank Farm option, said water in front of downtown Auckland was far more valuable than reclaiming land for a large stadium.

The Government is investigating downtown sites for a world-class stadium, including a site over water between Captain Cook and Marsden wharves.

The other site is on Bledisloe Wharf but that looks unlikely because the wharf is the country's third-busiest container terminal.

Ministry of Economic Development officials are investigating the downtown options as an alternative to upgrading Eden Park at a cost of $320 million. A report will go to the Cabinet next month for a decision.

Auckland City Council planning general manager John Duthie, who is in charge of a plan change to rezone the Tank Farm to create a world-class waterfront development, said the council had not been asked by the Government to look at any stadium proposal on the Tank Farm.

Mr Duthie said the land was partly used by the fishing industry.

The rest of the site was pencilled in for commercial and residential development.

The land was contaminated and needed environmental attention. He said building a stadium would require "quite significant" resource consents and there was no certainty it could be built before 2011.

North Harbour Stadium at Albany has also put its hand up to be considered as the premier venue.

Stadium trust chairman Reno Wijnstok said North Harbour had acres of space, few resource consent issues and could be expanded from 25,000 to the required 60,000 seats for less than the cost of expanding Eden Park from 47,500 to 60,000 seats.

Mr Wijnstok said the trust presented a case to the New Zealand Rugby Union last week and had invited World Rugby Cup Minister Trevor Mallard to North Harbour to hear the Albany proposals.