2 Nov 2018

Covered stadium touted for New Plymouth

6:59 pm on 2 November 2018

A state-of-the-art covered stadium has been proposed to replace earthquake-prone Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.

Taranaki Stadium Trust boss Mike Nield.

Taranaki Stadium Trust boss Mike Nield. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

But the hook is that stadium owners Taranaki Stadium Trust says it can only afford a basic fix of less than $50 million.

The covered stands at Yarrow, the spiritual home to Taranaki rugby, have been off-limits since June after being declared at earthquake risk.

Taranaki Bulls fans who watched home matches camped out at either end of the ground.

The Bulls were this year relegated to the championship and lost the Ranfurly Shield.

Taranaki Stadium Trust boss Mike Nield said the good news was that engineers said the existing stadium could be fixed - meaning the community had a full range of options.

"At one end of the scale you've got repair the existing stands and put them back into production and get the stadium up and running again, right the way through to building a brand new stadium at the existing site or indeed a brand new stadium at a different site."

Mr Neild said a repair would cost less than $50 million but building a new stadium at on the same site would cost four to five times that much.

Relocating to Pukekura Raceway, adjacent to the city's indoor sports arena, had also been explored for a similar price.

Mr Nield said if the community wanted the top-of-the-line option, funding may be a problem.

"If the good public of Taranaki say, 'No, just repair it and bring it back to where it was,' that's what we'll do."

Taranaki Rugby Union chief executive Jeremy Parkinson.

Taranaki Rugby Union chief executive Jeremy Parkinson. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Taranaki Rugby Union chief executive Jeremy Parkinson said the organisation said he could live with a basic repair job.

"If it's the most practical fix and the stadium can be reinstated back to what it was that's as good as anything."

But Mr Parkinson had not ruled out the covered option.

"There's only one in the country and that's in Dunedin and look what that's done for that region and the economic development there. If we could get a covered stadium it would be huge."

The New Plymouth District Council transferred ownership of Yarrow to the regional council in 2014.

The district council operates the stadium.

In a statement, Mayor Neil Holdom said it was important the options for Yarrow were weighed up carefully and the public had its say.

Mr Holdom did not answer questions about whether the district council would contribute to the cost of repairs at Yarrow or any potential new build.

The regional council controls the stadium trust.

Chairman David MacLeod said in a statement that borrowing would be required to fund whatever option was chosen.

Formal public consultation on future plans for Yarrow will take place next year.