Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee announced Tuesday Cabinet had agreed to increase Crown contribution to the major anchor project, above the $70.3 million planned in the 2013 cost sharing agreement with the Christchurch City Council.
The council committed $147m to the project.
“To ensure maintenance of a competitive tendering process, we won’t be revealing the agreed financial cap on the Crown’s commitment to delivery of the facility at this time,” Brownlee said.
While the design of the facility was still to take place, the agreed funding package meant it would include:
– An indoor aquatic hall with a 79m, 10-lane competition pool and spectator seating for 1000 people
– A 10m diving tower and warm water pool
– A learn-to-swim pool
– A leisure water area, with outdoor hot pools and two hydroslides
– Nine indoor courts for sports such as netball, basketball, futsal, floor ball, and other indoor sports, including retractable seating for 2500 spectators and function/VIP areas
– Sport New Zealand’s high performance area, which will include facilities for athletes and space for administration
– A large gym/weights facility, with up to five group fitness/multi-purpose rooms and sports health consulting rooms and facilities
– Four studio spaces for movement activity like dance
– A Sports House for administration of different sports
– A café, childcare facility and car parking for 500 vehicles (with the ability to expand in the future)
Previous plans for the facility included a 50-metre competition pool, and an complex with eight indoor courts and 2800 seats.
Sport Canterbury chief executive Julyan Falloonsaid it was great to finally have details of the project.
“We’ve been waiting for so long. It’s a great day for us,” he said.
The sports community could now plan transitional facilities and future competitions and events with more certainty.
“Now it’s about urgency to get the thing built and utilised,” Falloon said.
Netball Mainland chief executive Brigit Hearn said she was “extremely excited”.
“It’s fabulous news. It’s the end of the tunnel for us – now we can move forward and plan ahead.”
Netball Mainland had advocated for 12 courts but Hearn said getting nine courts was “certainly an improvement from where we’re at at the moment”.
The metro sport facility was initially planned to be built by early 2016 but the Government earlier this year pushed the completion date to 2020.
It is understood the business case was rejected when it finally reached the Beehive in May because costs had blown out.
Brownlee said Tuesday the intention was to open the facility to the public in 2019 and the remainder in 2020.
“As we work through the facility’s design and construction we will be looking closely at what opportunities there are to shorten those timeframes,” he said.
The Government had already purchased most of the land required to develop the facility on a central Christchurch site spanning over 70,000 square metres between Moorhouse Ave, Stewart St, St Asaph St and Antigua St.
The business case for the facility was “strong”, with more than two million visits to the facility a year expected once it opened, Brownlee said.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel welcomed the announcement.
“The earthquakes have had a massive impact on the region’s sporting facilities and I’m confident this new centre will reignite sport and recreation participation rates, and be another good reason to live in the central city,” she said.