Centre upgrade in councillors’ hands


The money’s been put aside, now it’s up to councillors to decide whether it’s worth spending $640,000 to upgrade the Queenstown Events Centre.

New Zealand Cricket released its home playing schedule for the next two summers last week. There were three games allocated to Dunedin’s University Oval but the Queenstown ground missed out.

The picturesque venue hosted nine ODIs from 2003 to 2014 but has fallen out of favour with NZC.

Its playing surface and drainage no longer meet NZC’s standards and it will not be allocated games until it makes improvements.

Queenstown council’s parks and reserves planning boss Stephen Quin says funds were allocated in the 2016-17 annual plan to investigate options for upgrading the turf. There are also funds available to implement the upgrade if the council elects to go ahead with the project.

“The council still want to consider various options for upgrading the field, so it is not a given we will use that budget to do the upgrade to that level,” Quin says.

“Without the upgrade, the message we have from NZ Cricket is that is wouldn’t meet their standards.”

The playing surface has a soil base and the cost to switch to the recommended sand base, improve the drainage and re-grass the venue has been estimated at $640,000.

A sand base field drains better and is more durable following wet weather. The wider community would also benefit in the sense the venue could be used more.

However, it is a considerable expense and the council want to examine the business case before making a decision.

Quin: “We’ll have to wait and see how those discussions go, really.”

The annual plan deliberations are happening this week and by the end of the discussions “we’ll hopefully have a better direction in terms of what options we will start designing further”.

“We have been working on a business plan since NZC told us of their new requirements.

“If we do upgrade it, it will put us in the picture for consideration for future matches but they have not given us any commitment.”

NZ has an impressive record at the venue, winning six of the seven completed games. The other two games were abandoned due to poor weather.

Otago Daily Times