5 Aug 2021

I have been advised that a notice of motion has been received by the Chief Executive which seeks a revision of the Council decision on 22 July to proceed with a 25,000 seat arena.

The petition which has been circulating will also be presented at next week’s 12 August Council meeting.

This brings the issue of both the cost and capacity of the arena to a head.

The resolution we passed was to push go on the preliminary design for a covered, multi-use arena based on a minimum of 25,000 seats.

The debate on the day focused on the unique proposition this arena will bring to the city and the visitor experience of ‘being there’ for the range of events it will attract, not just a Tier 1 rugby match.

The notice of motion for next week’s council meeting seeks to reconsider the amendment to increase the number of seats to 30,000, and, if that vote isn’t successful, to run a parallel preliminary design process for both.

Given that the resolution we passed asked the contractors to try to increase the number of seats within the budget allocated, I have asked staff to seek an early estimate of what that could mean as well.

Council staff and the contractors involved in this project now have a lot of work to do in order to support the notice of motion.  This will temporarily divert them from doing work on the arena’s preliminary design. They will need to provide considered advice to support elected members as they consider whether to confirm the previous decision or to pursue a different path.

This has to be the end of the matter as we need to get on and build the arena as soon as possible, without burdening our ratepayers with further cost escalations caused by delays.

 If the Councillors had provided notice of their amendment to increase the seating capacity, staff would have had time to provide advice on the amendment prior to the 22 July meeting.

Our decision making processes to date have all complied with the Local Government Act and have involved comprehensive briefings with Councillors prior to decision making meetings.

No matter what, we will be building a great arena for our region.

While staff are getting this advice and information prepared for next Thursday’s meeting, I will be making no further comment.