Central city  |  10 Jun 2021

Planning rule changes to manage Canterbury Multi-Use Arena (CMUA) noise during concerts and large events will be sent for Ministerial approval after being accepted at today’s Council meeting.

The 25,000-seat covered arena is the final anchor project in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan and its ability to host All Black tests, Football World Cup qualifiers, big concerts and other events will boost the city’s economy and vitality, and help enhance Canterbury’s sporting and cultural identity.

Before work on the CMUA progresses further, the Council needed to ask the Minister to amend the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan (CCRP) and the Christchurch District Plan, so that the Arena can catalyse the city’s regeneration while effectively managing its noise.

Amendments proposed by Council to the Minister included:

  • Introducing noise limits for concerts and PA systems.
  • A concert finishing time of 11pm (except for New Year’s Eve, when concerts could go until 12:30am).
  • A cap of six louder concert events and nine less loud concert events per calendar year to give residents certainty about the maximum frequency of events.
  • A requirement for a noise management plan, real-time compliance monitoring, and an amended noise insulation rule for new buildings in the area.

There will be no limits to the number of sporting events or concerts less than 65dB.

The Council undertook two rounds of public consultation in 2020 and early in 2021, but further development of the Arena’s design indicated that the noise contours (lines that show levels of noise at different distances from the Arena) needed remodelling.

The remodelling showed fewer residential properties as being affected, as the noise contours shifted slightly south into the city’s commercial area, away from residential areas north of the site.

Council staff undertook a further round of community engagement with the affected properties in May, before presenting their final recommendations to elected members.

“While it’s vitally important that the Arena operates successfully and promotes a vibrant central city, we also need to manage the amount, and frequency, of noise for neighbours living in the area,” says Head of Planning and Strategic Transport, David Griffiths. 

“We believe the measures we’re sending in our proposal to the Minister provide an appropriate balance between considering the needs of nearby residents and enabling the CMUA to achieve economic and social benefits for both Christchurch and Canterbury.”

The Associate Minister of Finance (who has delegated responsibility for residual Greater Christchurch Regeneration portfolio matters) will make a decision on the CMUA noise management proposals in the coming weeks.

For more information and regular updates on the CMUA, visit canterburyarena.co.nz.