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Rugby's Eden can only envy the simpler life over the bridge
Tuesday November 28, 2006
By Wayne Thompson

What is there now?

Eden Park sits on 9ha between the suburbs of Kingsland, Mt Eden, Sandringham and Balmoral, with 47,000 seats. North Harbour Stadium is on 28ha in Albany, near the Northern Motorway, with 25,000 seats.

What needs to be done?

Eden Park plans a $385 million upgrade for the Stadium New Zealand option, a wrap-around stadium of 60,000 seats, and is trying to mitigate residents' concerns about shading, light and noise spill.

The money includes $20 million to relocate Auckland Cricket but does not include $26 million to upgrade Sandringham Rd and the surrounding area, an upgrade of Kingsland Railway Station and link to Eden Park. Auckland City Council will handle that.

North Harbour Stadium has a $226 million concept plan by Creative Spaces. The "bowl" is in place and can be extended to give another 41,000 seats for a national stadium.

North Harbour Stadium management says it can develop a retractable roof design for no more than $385 million, the same as Eden Park.

What are the construction timelines?

Eden Park resource consents must be granted by September 2007, allowing for possible appeals. Consent has been received for the demolition of the Panasonic Stand. Construction time is three years, exclusive of ASB Stand extension and the demolition of East and West stands.

North Harbour Stadium says its developed design could be ready by April 2007, consents and detailed design complete by May 2008 and construction from June-October 2008 to October 2010 with an opening May-October 2010.

Resource consents are no problem as the stadium is zoned for expansion as an elite and community-level precinct.

Who owns each stadium?

Eden Park Trust Board manages the stadium for cricket and rugby. The board is willing to enter an agreement with the Government and funding partners for future governance and management to reflect changes in equity that will be held in the park.

North Harbour Stadium is run by a board of trustees but the landlord is North Shore City Council.

The trust has agreed to work with the Government on an appropriate ownership, governance and operating structure for a national stadium to reflect the State's financial interest and asset ownership.

Can they be used for more than rugby? Eden Park could be used for rugby, league and one-day cricket and concerts if a wrap-around design is adopted. Trade fairs are confined to a maximum daily capacity of 2000 and night events are limited to 25 a year.

North Harbour Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium that handles rugby, soccer and big concerts.

How accessible are they?

Eden Park plans a transport hub to cater for bus, coach, taxi and rail passengers.

North Harbour Stadium expects the Southern and Western Motorway extensions (Ring Route) to feed into the stadium, as well as the Northern Busway along the Northern Motorway from Albany to Auckland.

WHAT THEY SAID

Trevor Mallard

* November 15: "I think it's [Eden Park] a poor second option. I think it shows a lack of imagination. It shows a city that doesn't have a vision, but that might be what Aucklanders want."

* November 27: "Now we can look forward to having a wonderful World Cup in a stadium which I think will be very good."

Helen Clark

* November 13: "I think Auckland's got the ability to have a major legacy of infrastructure from the World Cup and a national stadium would certainly be that. At the end of the day we'll get on and make a great World Cup for Auckland."

Dick Hubbard

* June 30: "The stadium is steeped in rugby history. It is the stuff of legends. Eden Park will be an iconic New Zealand sports stadium - a legacy the whole country can be proud of."

* November 23: "We can't get it wrong, we cannot bypass this opportunity [for the waterfront]. Controversy is a good sign, a healthy sign - all the major projects around the world have had controversy. Today it's not about rugby, it is about boldness and vision against caution."

* November 27: "There is absolutely no doubt that Eden Park is a good option. It doesn't have some of the unique features of the waterfront but we accept the decision is Eden Park and we are determined now to make the best go we possibly can."