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Petition delivered in effort to overturn Yarrow Stadium redevelopment plans

Petition delivered in effort to overturn Yarrow Stadium redevelopment plans
September 28, 2019

Opponents of a $50 million repair and upgrade of Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth have delivered a petition signed by more than 5,000 people in a final attempt to get the decision reversed.

Representatives of the Taranaki sporting community yesterday delivered the petition to the Taranaki Regional Council, the owners of the venue.

Sport Taranaki Chairman Gordon Brown is among a group objecting to ratepayers having to meet the cost of the venue's rebuilding.

Brown, who is also a New Plymouth District Councillor, told Radio New Zealand "I think as a political decision this would rank amongst the most unpopular ever and I think the people have spoken.

Brown said the regional council had committed to building a stadium for "up to $50 million" which allowed it to look at cheaper options, adding "the words 'up to' give us an admittedly faint hope that it does allow them the wriggle room to where they can reduce the costs of the stadium repair bill from $50 million to something far more amenable to the Taranaki ratepayer along the tune of $34 million."

The east and west stands at Yarrow Stadium - the home of Taranaki rugby - were structurally compromised following an earthquake in November 2016.

In May, the Taranaki Regional Council decided on a $50 million repair and upgrade after consulting on options ranging from demolishing the stadium and sowing grass on the banks for $6 million to building a new covered stadium worth $217 million.

However, opposing community sports groups have suggested alternative proposals costing less than $50 million

Hugh Barnes of the Taranaki Sports Collective, which represents 15 regional sports organisations, said he was convinced the majority of Taranaki people were opposed to the scale of the current project.

Barnes stated "sports know sucking that amount of money out of the region for what will essentially be a rugby stadium is going to make it so much harder to get support for some much-needed community sporting facilities."

Pointing out that neither of the organisations had anything against rugby, Brown added "TRFU Chairman Lindsay Thomson got it right when he said they were the meat in the sandwich. We have no issue with them and wish the Bulls and the union all the best."

Over the next 25 years, residential ratepayers in New Plymouth are paying a flat $70.34 levy per year excluding GST towards the stadium repair costs, while commercial and industrial ratepayers are being levied by land value plus a $150 fixed charge - most will pay between $200 and $600 a year, excluding GST.

All Stratford and South Taranaki ratepayers are paying $47.30 annually, excluding GST.

Taranaki Regional Council Director of Corporate Services Mike Nield confirmed it had received the petition, telling Radio New Zealand "we will take the time to go through it and consider our response."

Image: Taranaki Regional Council.

Related Articles

21st August 2019 - Taranaki Rugby slashes ticket prices at New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium

21st June 2019 - Redevelopment of New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium moves forward

24th May 2019 - Taranaki Regional Council agrees to fund Yarrow Stadium renovations

26th February 2019 - $55 million repair plan recommended for Taranaki’s Yarrow Stadium

29th October 2018 - Taranaki’s Yarrow Stadium owner runs up $15 million loss in last financial year

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

29th November 2017 - Main stand at New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium closed over earthquake concerns

13th July 2017 - Strategy suggests ageing Taranaki sports facilities are a ‘time bomb’

9th December 2016 - ‘Uneconomic to repair’ Christchurch’s Lancaster Park

26th August 2016 - Fund launched to protect New Zealand’s earthquake threatened heritage buildings

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