Central city  |  3 Sep 2021

A review of the project structure and process for delivering the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena has led to some changes being made.

Barry Bragg, interim chair of the CMUA Project Delivery Limited Board, has worked with the new project team on the changes, which are designed to provide Christchurch City Council and the Crown with greater confidence the multi-million dollar project can be kept on track.

The changes include implementing new change management, risk management and cost control processes. Work is also being done to clarify the role of CMUA Project Delivery Limited - the company set up to govern the delivery of the arena.

In late June 2021, the Council was notified of a significant increase in the construction cost for the arena. It also learned that the proposed design for the arena was likely to result in ongoing, increased running costs.

That news came only days after the Council had confirmed its 2021-31 Long Term Plan and created significant challenges for the organisation.

Last month the Council agreed to add about $50 million to the previously approved budget of $473 million to ensure the arena would still deliver on the objectives set out in the Investment Case. 

However, the Council asked for an independent review of the project structure and processes to ensure that better controls were in place going forward.

“Rising construction costs worldwide and supply chain issues means that we are building the arena in a very challenging environment.

“It is going to place significant pressure on the budget and timeframe for delivery of the arena which is why it is critical to the Council that the right project structure and systems are in place for this project,’’ says Council General Manager, Citizens and Community, Mary Richardson.

On Thursday, 9 September, staff will present a report to the Council detailing the findings of the independent review and the revised structure and processes that have been put in place in response.

The report will recommend that CMUA Project Delivery Limited remains as the independent project governance entity for the arena.

The establishment of an independent entity to govern the delivery of the arena was a requirement of the Funding Agreement that the Crown and the Council signed.

“The independent review has highlighted that there has been some confusion about what the exact role and responsibilities of the CMUA Project Delivery Limited Board are,’’ Ms Richardson says. 

“The report that we will be bringing to Council next week recommends that the role and functions of the Board are clarified through re-issuing the Letter of Expectation and by putting in place new delegations and authorities.’’

Mr Bragg says the Board welcomes the findings of the governance review.

“The Board is determined to meet the expectations that have been set by both the Council and the Crown.

“We want to deliver Christchurch a fantastic arena that will provide people with an unparalleled experience, draw visitors to the city and stimulate the economy. That is our goal and we will make it happen,’’ Mr Bragg says.

Read the Council report on the review of the CMUA project structure and processes.