Friday, May 27, 2022

Clive Bibby: The New Christchurch Stadium - simple arithmetic

Most kiwis are like me when it comes to sport. It is the panacea that provides relief from the daily drudgery that is modern survival It is also the one thing that binds us as an ethnically diverse nation more than any other and there are reasons for that.

First up, our athletes across the board, compete successfully at the highest international level which provides inspirational diversions at a time when we most need them. It is no surprise then, that our greatest sports men and women receive the highest honours when it comes time to reward those who have made our mundane lives that much more enjoyable. We can all share in their achievements, no matter what our position on the social ladder or status in the community. For an hour or so, we are as one.

Fortunately, unlike some other countries where “woke” philosophy is destroying the non political aspect of world sport, we seem to be able to keep a lid on the politics. But  unfortunately, we may not be able to withstand the pressure for too much longer as the international governing sporting bodies rush to adopt laws that are the antithesis of competitions based on equality.

We recently got a taste of what is to come when our own trans athlete Laurel Hubbard was allowed to compete at the Olympics in a class for which she was biologically unsuited. It was a regrettable experience for all involved, not least for those of us who squirmed with embarrassment as one of our own was attempting to take unfair advantage and win on an un-level playing field. Thankfully, but not surprisingly, she lost.

The Aussie elections saw the debate about trans athletes also reach ridiculous heights when it negatively influenced the result in at least one electorate and possibly even the outcome of the election itself.

This brings me back to the Christchurch Stadium and the problems they are having with dopey thinking of a different kind.

It is all happening because politics is being allowed to dictate the outcome of what should have been a “no brainer” decision about costs.

Here’s how l see it.

Having made the political decision to spend ratepayers money on a new stadium which, in principal was well received, the council should have then focussed solely on getting best value in the finished product for the bucks spent and future generations who will enjoy the facility.

Maybe, l’m being too simplistic here but it seems to me that, in achieving that goal, the highest priority should be given to :

a) optimum seating capacity

The only way that this expenditure will be justified will be if it serves the purpose of providing a facility with the capacity for hosting large events.

And it should be remembered that rugby and cricket are not the only ones that will fill the stadium - music concerts that cater for 50 or 60,000 are more likely to make it pay its way.

It is clear that in order to provide that facility, a stadium with a 30,000 seating capacity will be too small for any number of modern rock concerts.

Music lovers have been turning out in stratospheric numbers (70,000 plus) for years in this country to hear their favourite bands and artists.

b) fit for purpose construction

Why is it that the one thing that appears to be causing the cost overruns and limiting the seating capacity of the Christchurch new build is the need for an all weather facility.

I’m not a stadium architect but my guess would be that we could easily increase the seating capacity of this “must have” by at least another 10,000 seats if we spent money saved from redesigning it with a semi covered roof like both Eden Park and the Wellington Cake Tin .

How many times have major events been delayed, postponed or cancelled because of inclement weather. I can’t remember one.

It is no surprise then that virtually all of the major stadiums throughout the world are only partially covered and there seems to be no enthusiasm for changing that ingredient when building new facilities - bums on seats are the only reason why they can continue to operate at no cost to the taxpayer.

Christchurch should reconsider this logic before the first turf is dug.

They won’t regret it.

Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.

No comments: