27 Apr 2018

Chch Metro Sports and stadium "on track" - government

From Checkpoint, 5:36 pm on 27 April 2018

By Logan Church

The government says a trimmed down, less expensive Metro Sports Facility in Christchurch will be open by 2021.

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods revealed last year that there had already been a $75 million cost blow-out, so she axed the contractor and replaced it with the Crown-owned company Ōtākaro.

Construction was meant to be finished two years ago but it had not even started.

But Ms Woods said work was now back on track.

"We've had our red pens out and our pencils very sharp, and we have examined the project line by line," she said.

"Ōtākaro is now ready to go to market, find a good contractor, and begin building the metro sports facility."

A main contractor was expected to be announced within 12 months, while earthworks will start within 10 weeks.

Ōtākaro has completed detailed designs that reduce the final cost of the project by about $50m, she said.

That meant architectural feature, more affordable finishes, less skylights, reduced glazing, no child care facility and a smaller car park.

But Ms Woods assured that the new designs, which have not been released publicly, would not sacrifice any "core sporting functionality".

Today, it was also announced work on the separate Christchurch stadium was at a point where a detailed business case could be developed.

Ms Woods expected that to get underway immediately.

She said she also wanted the building to have a roof - something that sports groups and hospitality business said would bring more events, games, and subsequently, more tourists.

The former minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Nicky Wagner, also welcomed today's announcement.

Although, she said she it should have been made months ago, and she was worried about further delays and the potential for costs to soar on each project.

"We are exactly where we were at the election time," she said.

"This is what happens when you change governments - you lose time and we've lost six months on both of these projects."