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Green light for Yarrow Stadium renovations

Major repair work to Yarrow Stadium in Taranaki, New Zealand look set to go ahead after Taranaki Regional Council set a budget for the project.

The stadium project is now proceeding on a budget of up to NZ$50 million, with outer field updates on hold pending further discussions with the wider sporting community. The budget was up to NZ$55 million in initial proposals. The stadium is home to Taranaki Rugby.

The Council will tell the Yarrow Stadium operator, New Plymouth District Council, to seek ways to encourage increased use of the facility by a wider range of sporting and non-sporting organisations.

The vision is to create:

  • The best regional stadium in New Zealand that regularly hosts national and international sports and entertainment events.
  • A stadium for both major events and community events and the premier outdoor field for team sports codes.
  • A stadium that is loved by sports fans and the local community.
  • A stadium that is a quality experience for event promoters, participants and spectators, which is achieved through superior event facilities, presentation and management and through the early adoption and smart use of technology.

The Council Chair, David MacLeod, says he’s pleased with the way the community took part in the consultation process leading up to today’s decisions. He said:

After we’d heard from everyone, we asked ourselves again what we need to achieve. After a lot of discussion and deliberation, we concluded that the vision adopted in 2015 still applies.

Clearly, we must reinstate what we had, with updates that are necessary to meet current and foreseeable requirements for such venues.

Weighing up all of the submissions, we’re confident that the community largely shares this view.

We need to be clear that this is a repair and refurbishment project. We’re working with the Stadium we already have. If we were building a new one, a different approach might have been possible.

It’s also misleading and misrepresents the situation to say we need to spend only $33 million or $36 million to fix the grandstands, and can do without the refurbishments. It’s a false option. Just fixing the grandstands would not result in a fit-for-purpose, usable Stadium. The refurbishments are included because they are essential – replacing end-of-life lighting with up-to-date LED fittings is but one leading example. Doing without them is out of the question.

These refurbishments continue a development programme that was formed in consultation with the wider sporting community, and well before the earthquake-prone issue arose. Nothing has changed – apart from a not-to-be missed opportunity to get them done most efficiently while repairs are under way. The refurbishment programme was being funded from the previous Yarrow Stadium rate, which is now replaced by the new rating arrangement that also includes the cost of grandstand repairs.

The NZ$50 million covers repairs to the earthquake-prone grandstand and consequential changes, and important updates including additional food and beverage outlets and toilets, technology upgrades, LED pitch lighting, car park improvements, maintenance and grounds storage sheds, gate improvements, new South Terrace seating and reinstatement of field 1.  The new $50 million budget includes $1.6 million for contingencies.