Estate ace to lead Christchurch venue work



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New director appointed to deliver Christchurch Stadium Image: Christchurch City Council

The Christchurch City Council (New Zealand) recently confirmed a new permanent Chair and Director to the Board of the company overseeing work on the City’s $523 million Canterbury Multi-Use Arena.

The ‘Australasian Leisure Management’ stated that Barry Bragg, a Chartered Accountant who has served as a Director on a number of property and commercial companies, including the Ngāi Tahu Property, has been appointed Chair and businessman Gill Cox has also been appointed as a Director to the stadium board and as Chairman of Venues Ōtautahi, the Council-owned events company that will operate the 30,000-seat arena when it opens.

The Canterbury Multi-Use Arena is a Multi-Use Sports Arena to be built on land bordered by Hereford, Madras, Tuam, and Barbadoes streets. The Multi-Use Arena is designed as a replacement for Lancaster Park which was damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and subsequently demolished in 2019. The stadium was designed as part of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan in 2012 by the then Fifth National Government of New Zealand.

The Canterbury Multi-Use Arena is scheduled to open by the end of 2024. From football World Cup qualifiers to big concerts and events, the facility will be able to host them all.

The ‘Australasian Leisure Management’ further stated that the appointments come after concerns came to light with the Council-owned company, which was set up to provide independent governance of the City’s last remaining post-2011 earthquake anchor project.

In July, it was revealed original Chair Murray Strong and another Director, Sue McCormack, had both resigned over rising costs.

Not long after that, a review of the company found it lacked clarity about its role and responsibilities – leading to several changes.

Recently, the Council confirmed Bragg, who had been interim Chair of the stadium company, would take over the role permanently.

Along with Bragg and Cox, professional board member Steve Reindler and property developer Richard Peebles remain on the stadium board.

The Council staffs have previously described the board as “key” to the success of the stadium project.

Commenting on the appointments, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel stated, “The job of delivering Christchurch a world-class arena in a time when there are supply chain issues and rising construction costs because of the coronavirus pandemic is going to be challenging. I am confident we have the best people for the job and that they will pull out all the stops to ensure Christchurch ends up with an arena that delivers a great visitor experience and energizes the heart of our City.”

In August, the Council voted to restore the seating capacity of the stadium to 30,000 after an earlier decision to approve a concept for a smaller design was criticized by the locals. The design concept will mean that the venue is capable of hosting up to 41,000 people for concerts.

Interruptions from COVID-19 lockdowns have also been affecting some Australian and Auckland-based members of the Kōtui consortium that is designing the venue.

The final design and construction contract, which should reveal the true cost of the stadium, is expected to go before City Councilors in April or May next year.

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