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New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium closed due to earthquake fears

New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium closed due to earthquake fears
June 8, 2018

The Taranaki Stadium Trust, owners of New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium, have advised that they have taken a safety-first approach in making the 24,000 seat venue unavailable as the Mitre 10 Cup home base for the Yarrows Taranaki Bulls rugby team in 2018.

With geotechnical testing having last year found that the Stadium’s East Stand was earthquake-prone, the results of further testing on the Stadium's West Stand showed the ground stability of the bank beneath it was also a significant earthquake risk.

Commenting on the decision to close the venue, TST trustee Mike Nield advised “it’s a real blow and we apologise to everyone involved. The Trust informed key partners, including the TRFU, of the report’s findings (this week).”

Kelvin Wright, Chief Operating Officer for stadium operator New Plymouth District Council added “this is hugely disappointing for players and fans who will be inconvenienced but safety comes first.

“We take public and staff safety very seriously and have taken a proactive approach ever since issues were first discovered.”

The East Stand, of which the Taranaki Rugby Football Union was a tennant, was vacated in November last year and a decision on its future is yet to be decided.

TRFU Chief Executive Jeremy Parkinson told media "we got dealt a pretty tough blow with the east stand being ruled out last year.

"That plan has been unfolding over the last eight weeks but the hand brake's been pulled and we've gone back to square one.”

He advised that half the Union's income was tied to the Stadium in some form.

The East and West Stands were built by Fletcher Construction in 2002, at a cost of $17million. In 2009/10 the stadium underwent a further $1.7 million upgrade to improve the venue to Rugby World Cup standard and increase its capacity from 17,000 to 24,138, including 1,920 temporary seats.

Last year, the venue’s hospitality centre underwent a $2.8 million upgrade which featured a new kitchen and food and beverage facilities.

Nield said it was too early to speculate on the future of the stadium but the TST would continue investigating the next steps.

He concluded “this is a blow but we remain committed to having a facility in Taranaki capable of hosting top-flight sporting events. We'll be looking at our options and while the loss of Yarrow for 2018 is a setback, it gives us opportunities to look at some of the different choices available to us.”

It is believed that the Taranaki Stadium Trust is considering whether it can take legal action against parties involved in the 2009/10 development.

Image: Yarrow Stadium.

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