|Clip-on makes Cup seating a snap
|Tuesday February 20, 2007
By Bernard Orsman
First Auckland had the "Nippon clip-on" addition to the harbour bridge.
Now Rugby World Cup Minister Trevor Mallard is proposing a new "clip-on" to give rugby fans a view from on high at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
A key feature of the Government's new proposal for Eden Park is a "clip-on" to provide 11,700 temporary seats above a new south stand at the historic sports ground. The cost is $175 million to $190 million.
Under the Government's proposal, half the capacity of the 60,000 stadium would be temporary seating.
As well as temporary seats above the south stand, 15,000 temporary seats would be installed above the eastern terraces and the old wooden Panasonic stand. This capacity remains after the Cup when the seats go.
Another 1500 temporary seats would be built above the west stand.
Mr Mallard said the temporary stands would be as good as any permanent seating at the ground, and certainly better than the present poor seating on the terraces.
"In fact, temporary seating is now routinely utilised and widely accepted for major sporting events worldwide - 68 per cent of the main stadium for the 2012 London Olympics will be temporary. It was also used at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and the 2004 Athens Olympics," he said.
The plan is to build a new south stand with new corporate boxes, media and players' facilities at a cost of $123 million.
Above that will sit 11,700 temporary seats with a further 1800 temporary seats in front of the stand.
Once the cup is over, the temporary seats will be removed, leaving the ground as it is now with a new south stand, including an extra 4000 covered seats, and capacity for 50,000 people.
Eden Park Trust Board chief executive John Alexander said it was looking at whether the temporary seating over the terraces and Panasonic Stand could become permanent.
The temporary seating will require resource consent but because given it is for a specific one-off event over a relatively short period of time, that should not be a problem.
The new south stand will be designed to fit within the present 30m height envelope.
No date has been set for the construction of the south stand, which is expected to take two years to build.
The temporary seating is expected to be installed in the first half of 2011 and to taken down within six weeks of the final match.
Mr Mallard said he anticipated setting up a trust to carry out the work at Eden Park.
It would include members from the trust board, the organising committee Rugby New Zealand 2011 and the Government.
Eden Park Trust Board chairman Rob Fisher said he was happy to have some certainty that the ground would host the World Cup final even though they would have preferred a $385 million upgrade.
The changes at Eden Park
* ASB Stand: No change. Total 13,000 seats.
* West Stand: 1500 temporary seats. Total 5500 seats.
* South Stand: 13,500 temporary seats. Total 27,500 seats.
* Eastern Terraces and Panasonic Stand: 15,000 temporary seats. Total 15,000 seats.
Do you support the Eden Park plan?
Residents of Reimers Ave - which runs behind Eden Park's South Stand - give their views
* Scott Mathieson, 38, company director:
"The temporary seating is ridiculous. It's not a way to build a world-class stadium. Why did Helen Clark go to Ireland to bid for the World Cup and then not stump up with the money to deliver a good World Cup?"
* Michael Dodds, 40, IT account manager:
"In principle I agree the refurbishment and temporary seating is a great way ahead but we need to see the details of that. We need to see the impact it will have on the neighbourhood."
* Alley Miller, 29, fulltime mother:
"We were really upset when we heard the plan. The shade [from the stadium] is going to completely block our light. The construction noise is of concern. We are thinking about moving."
* Brendan Long, 28, software engineer:
"My first impression is it's a typical example of the Government doing the job half-arsed. It's disappointing. I think they should do it at North Harbour Stadium because the community impact is smaller."
* Rick Nemaia, 40, technician:
"I support it. I'm not worried about the sound of construction - I'll just crank up the stereo. It's noisy here anyway during games. If you are going to watch a game, you need more seats."
* Dan Hattie, 40, truck driver:
"It's a good idea, but it should be more permanent [seating] though. Construction is going to be noisy but it won't affect me, I'll be at work. If they comply with noise restrictions it will be sweet as."