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Stadium funding question remains unasked

Stadium funding question remains unasked
The Te Kaha construction site from Tuam Street where work is progressing with the steel construction of the western and southern stand super-structure. SUPPLIED

There are still no plans for Ashburton ratepayers to chip in for Christchurch’s $683 million new stadium, council chief executive Hamish Riach says.

That’s because they simply haven’t been asked to.

Christchurch City Mayor Phil Mauger and councillor Sam MacDonald have said they believe the Christchurch City Council’s Te Kaha is a regional asset and should be funded accordingly.

The suggestion has been percolating with Christchurch City councillors for years and with construction of their multi-use arena well under way, they are yet to formally ask their neighbours to help fund it.

And without a formal request, it has been given no consideration in Ashburton, Riach said.

“We have received irregular updates on the progress of the construction of Te Kaha, and there have been occasional verbal references to Te Kaha being a regional facility.

“There has been no formal request and no information to include in our long-term plan (LTP) for discussion with the community.”

It hasn’t been raised at the Canterbury Mayoral Forum either, Riach said.

MacDonald has stated that it wasn’t right that people outside of Christchurch would get to use Te Kaha while the people of Christchurch bear the brunt in rates.

Asked if, conversely it was right that ratepayers outside of Christchurch should help pick up the tab for the city council project, MacDonald declined to comment.

“As we work through these discussions with our colleagues across councils it wouldn’t be helpful to enter into a public discussion on the opposing views you raise,” Macdonald said.

General manager resources and chief financial officer, Leah Scales, said the city council had engaged with neighbouring councils in the past.

“The conversations were always intended to form part of long-term plans for the councils, to enable all councils to consult their communities if there was a proposed way forward.

“As we have just started our LTP process, these conversations are now commencing with our neighbouring councils.”

Riach doubled down saying that without being asked the question by the Christchurch council, they won’t be speculating on any expectation and trying to find an answer in their upcoming LTP process

Even if the city council does ask the question, it is up to the individual councils to decide what they want to do about the proposal to co-fund another council’s infrastructure project and how they consult their communities.

What economic benefits the Ashburton District will gain from the building in the centre of Christchurch also remains to be proven.

“The council currently has no expectations of potential benefits to the Ashburton community.

“Members of the community will access events in Te Kaha, but they expect to pay the appropriate ticket price to do so.”

By Jonathan Leask