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Eden Park Trust Board seeks resource consent
30 November 2006

Eden Park was to take another step today to becoming the host ground for the 2011 Rugby World Cup with an application for a resource consent for rebuilding costing $385 million.

The Eden Park Trust Board said it would go the Auckland City Council today for a resource consent to rebuild almost the entire park, lifting its capacity from slightly under 48,000 to 60,000.

The two-week hearing would follow one of the biggest sporting and local government controversies for many years when the Government said it wanted to build a waterfront stadium after the cost of upgrading Eden Park ballooned to nearly $400m.

The Government lost that battle when the Auckland Regional Council threw it out with a unanimous vote in favour of Eden Park.

The ARC vote followed the Auckland City Council's vote in favour of the waterfront stadium but it began a bitter row between Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard and ARC chairman Mike Lee.

Mr Hubbard accused Mr Lee of not looking after the best regional interests of Auckland while Mr Lee told Mr Hubbard to listen to what Aucklanders were saying.

The Eden Park Trust Board already had consent to knock down the Panasonic stand at the ground and rebuild it at a cost of $15m to $16m, which had already been financed, said board general manager Murray Reade.

He said that was separate to the main redevelopment plan but was unlikely to begin until the entire plan was approved.

"That is all consented and ready to go. We have just got to sort this process out first and see where we stand with that and the issue of funding still resides with central Government but are just waiting to see our way clear of those things."

Mr Reade said the concept drawings were ready to go to the resource consent hearing, including the height of the new stands and the impact they would have on the local community.

"We are just happy to be under way now."

He said the board hoped to end the consent process by the middle of next year and building should begin by September.

It should be finished by October 2010, a year ahead of the Rugby World Cup tournament.

"The building programme has quite a bit of fat built into it. Our aim is to play games during the construction process so we have allowed for that," Mr Reade said.

The Eden Park upgrade was estimated to cost about $385m compared with the estimated cost of $700m for the waterfront although opponents to the waterfront said the cost would balloon to well over $1b.

Who was to pay for the upgrade had yet to be finalised although the ARC said it would not contribute because it would spend a lot of money on transport facilities.