Plans for a community stadium in Tauranga’s city centre are still under fire from clubs that would be moved on if it was built.
The proposed $220m stadium would provide 7000 permanent seats with the provision for an additional 8000 temporary seats at the Tauranga Domain
It would also include a “light” exhibition centre; a function centre, a community multi-use facility with changing rooms and lounge space, and a sports science/physiotherapy space.
Tauranga City Council consulted on the stadium as part of the Long-Term Plan 2024-34 (LTP).
The Tauranga Lawn Tennis Club and Tauranga Millenium Track Trust expressed their opposition at the LTP hearings on Monday.
The tennis club would lose parking and have some of its courts relocated and the all-weather athletic track, that the trust built, would be demolished if the stadium went ahead.
Garth Mathieson of the Tauranga Millennium Track Trust said the proposed stadium wouldn’t have enough parking and couldn’t be expanded to keep up with the growth of Tauranga.
Nearby Rotorua had a 20,000-seat stadium and a much smaller population, he said.
Hands off Tauranga Domain alliance members Gretchen Benvie, Michel Galloway, Mark Decke, Murray Clarkson and Garth Mathieson. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.
“The community stadium will result in the loss of a substantial part of the only large green space in central Tauranga.
“Let's call the community stadium what it is, a second regional rugby stadium.”
Mathieson said the funding for the stadium should be from external funders rather than ratepayers.
Tauranga Lawn Tennis Club, club captain Michel Galloway said the greenspace at the domain should be left as a legacy for future generations.
The stadium would result in a loss of the community sports that operated from the domain, she said.
The Tauranga Croquet Club and the Tauranga Bowling Club would be displaced if it were built.
The track trust, tennis and croquet clubs formed the Hands Off Tauranga Domain alliance and held a protest in March last year. Around 500 people turned up to support the cause.
Galloway requested the stadium be removed from the long-term plan.
Some of the crowd at at the Hands of Tauranga Domain protest last year.Photo: Alisha Evans/ SunLive.
Barry Scott said the council had failed to adequately consult with the community about the stadium.
“The council needs to consider the views of the community, encourage people to present their views and provide those people with a reasonable opportunity to make their presentation. Then they must receive those presentations with an open mind.”
Scott also called for the stadium to be removed from the LTP, he also asked for the 10-year plan to be delayed until September.
This would enable the council elected in July to “have a proper look at it” on the residents’ behalf, he said.
Ken Green said there were assumptions most people make about stadiums. These were that the initial cost was always wrong, and stadiums had cost blowouts, and that stadiums were multi-use.
“As soon as you put grass in one, it does not become multi-use. In New Zealand as soon as you put grass in it, it becomes a rugby stadium.”
Stadiums also sat empty most of the time and the cost to run them were “huge”, said Green.
“They [stadiums] sit there the whole time doing nothing, which really isn't a good use of all that ratepayers money.”
The hearings continue Tuesday and Wednesday.
LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.