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Hagley Oval gets go ahead to host ICC World Cup Cricket 2015 matches
Canterbury Cricket's proposed development of Hagley Oval in order for the venue to host International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup Cricket 2015 matches is set to proceed following a decision from the Environment Court.
According to reports in local newpapers, the Court also ruled that the ground can host 13 days of major-cricket fixtures a year and New Zealand Cricket, aside from the World Cup games, could add temporary seating to boost the ground's capacity from 12,000 to 20,000 twice every three years.
Canterbury Cricket's plans to develop the Oval as an international cricket venue found opposition from some members of the public, who started a petition that said Hagley Park, within which the ground is located, "was gifted to Christchurch to be reserved as a Public Park forever and for the enjoyment and recreation of all. This proposal goes against that original intention and sets a precedent for the loss of open public space and further commercial development within Hagley Park."
According to the ICC World Cup Cricket 2015 schedule released on 30th July, the ground is scheduled to host New Zealand's opening fixture of the World Cup, against Sri Lanka, on 14th February 2015 while, later on in the tournament, it will host six more group-stage matches, including Pakistan and West Indies on 21st February and England and a qualifier on 23rd February.
The Court has not ruled fully in favour of Canterbury Cricket, though, granting them only some concessions.
Other specifications state that temporary facilities and structures associated with major-cricket fixtures may not occupy the ground for more than 40 days per season, two or more major fixtures may be scheduled within the same week, provided that on each occasion the temporary facilities and structures don't occupy the ground for more than 14 consecutive days, and floodlight headframes - which are yet to be installed - are to be removed at the end of the cricket season.
Christchurch City Council will now need to approve Canterbury Cricket's plans for the ground, as well as having to work through the details and restrictions that have been put in place by the Environment Court, to see what the implications are for the development.
However, Council Recreation and Sports Unit Manager John Filsell says the announcement is good news, stating "the matter will now come back to elected members to consider whether to grant a ground lease to Canterbury Cricket for the proposed pavilion and light towers. The Council's normal consenting process around the building of the pavilion and lights will need to be followed.
"Elected members also need to decide if they want to release funds that were allocated in the 2012/13 Annual Plan for the cost of the low-rise grass embankment. $1.65 million was set aside for work on Hagley Oval, with $565,000 having already been used to upgrade the wicket, level the outfield and drainage and irrigation work."
The decision has also been welcomed by New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Murray McCully who stated "the opening match will be a great spectacle and will showcase that Christchurch is up and running as a sporting and tourist destination."
Prior to the Environment Court decision, fears that been raised Christchurch would lose $45 million in event revenue if it lost its Cricket World Cup hosting slot.
Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism Chairman Dave Hawkey had suggested that "(Cricket World Cup) expenditure ... will be widespread; we're talking supermarkets, service stations, hospitality, accommodation (and) restaurants.
"When Christchurch hosted the IPC Athletics in 2011 it drew more than 12,600 visitors to the city."
The group that lodged the petition, Hands off Hagley, has 15 days to appeal the Environmental Court's decision, but this would have to be based on a point of law.
5th February 2013 - OVER 200 SUBMISSIONS ON HAGLEY OVAL CRICKET REDEVELOPMENT
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