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Lower East Stand will help reduce shading
Sunday December 31, 2006
Dylan Cleaver

A significant change to the design of Eden Park has been pushed through, with officials hoping it will allay residents' fears about shading.

The East Stand to replace the terraces will now be two-tiered rather than three, which will lower it by nine metres and reduce the shading effect on neighbours, the primary concern of residents who had made resource consent submissions.

"If we get the funding for the completed option, the East Stand comes down 9m in height, so it significantly reduces shading," Eden Park Trust Board chief executive John Alexander said.

"It will get a roof which it doesn't have under the partial option, so we add a whole heap of covered seating, which also contains noise and light. There will be some cost savings in that."

The West Stand remains a moveable feast, with Alexander indicating three options: building a new two-tiered stand, retaining the West Stand and adding a roofed tier, and creating an amalgam using present infrastructure.

Eden Park is still working on a preliminary design while waiting for the Government to complete its review of the design and costings.

Alexander said they hoped to hear back from the Ministry of Economic Development by early February. One factor they did not want to countenance, but which looms larger every month building is delayed, is closing the ground from the start of the project to ensure completion.

"If you close the ground you probably benefit in terms of construction by two to three months," Alexander said. "The negative is that it will add $35m in cost because you'd have to take the revenues and the debt repayments and all the things you do when you close a business.

"It's huge issue. I'm not ruling it out, but in terms of contingencies it's a long way down the road."

The wait is also proving frustrating for Auckland Cricket which is investigating potential sites for relocation - North Harbour Stadium, Merton Rd and the favoured Western Springs.

Auckland Cricket and the trust board had agreed to compensation of $20m, but all that has been put on standby while the Government ponders any financial commitment to Eden Park.

Auckland Cricket chief executive Andrew Eade said the delays were frustrating "to say the least".

Under a budget 'temp-orary-seating' scenario, the outer oval, where Auckland play home games, might not be lost to a proposed transport hub as it would be with the 'legacy' option.