In no particular order, these reoccurring MYTHS, lies or morsels of misinformation keep surfacing, with the distinct ability to stifle any meaningful debate, and only leave those unsure about the stadium unable to make an informed decision. Personally I am in favour of the stadium if all of the requirements are met. However if you have read all of the opinions and so called facts and still oppose the stadium, that is your prerogative, just make sure it’s an informed decision.
So what has been put up as seemingly valid argument against the stadium.
1, Not Multi-Use – MYTH: Well unless you have a Tardis and by 2050 not one other single event (including the Mountain Daisy Preservation Societies AGM) isn’t held at the stadium, then we have to assume that they are developing a multi-use stadium. The designs and management agenda seems to indicate this is the case.
2, Cost – MYTH: We have to assume that the professional organisations which put together this proposal, and the councils that set the budgets are correct. Do not be fooled by those who claim the stadium will cost double – what are they basing that assumption on. Another claim is that steel prices have gone through the roof, when yes they did, but they have also suffered the same as many commodities recently and prices have fallen sharply as demand for that product has declined. Unless you know for a FACT that the cost will be as some claim upwards of $450m, then it’s pure speculation.
3, Materials – MYTH: The revolutionary material which the roof will be made of is in use around the world in several ground breaking stadiums. Just because it’s going to have a ‘plastic’ roof doesn’t make it a bloody glasshouse as described by some.
4, Design: Claims that this design is ‘ugly’ are aesthetic arguments, and one persons beautiful building is another’s eyesore. Sure we aren’t getting a Ghery or Lord Foster (architects) creation, but we are getting a very well thought out stadium. HOK Sport is responsible for over $1 Trillion US dollars worth of stadium and entertainment facility development over the last 15 years, they know how to build a good working stadium. There are claims that the stadium will negate the relationship between the town and the waterfront or Water of Leith, this I will address in another piece in more detail.
5, University Non Involvement – MYTH: Some misread the original discussion surrounding the development and assumed that the University would be investing money directly into the stadium. But further to that many have questioned the Universities committment to any involvement. However as seen recently, the University plans to relocate a significant proportion of staff, students and services (Student Health) down to the complex in their own buildings. This would see an annual 400,000 people using the area (dispelling another myth that the area would be a virtual ghost town when there aren’t the dozen or so rugby matches held there each year).
7, Carisbrook is adequate – MYTH: It has been stated by the authorities that unless the stadium is completely upgraded then Dunedin as a test venue will cease to be. The Current mish mash of buildings, poor media and corporate facilities and broken down appendages all combine to make a stadium that is surviving on the mythical ‘Carisbrook – house of pain’ name. Capacity is too small, location is poor, and any attempt to throw small amounts of money at it to redevelop it would amount to nothing more than (to borrow an overused US political term) putting lipstick on a pig.
6, Traffic: Claims that the stadium would see an increase of traffic during big events, are of course 100% correct, but then again this is the case at the moment at the current stadium. In real terms the new stadium is closer to the centre of city and closer to the student and visitor accommodation area. There is ample parking in the area and any argument against this stadium’s traffic concerns are equally valid at the current stadium.
7, Landscaping: Carisbrook is just so awe inspiring isn’t it. Besides, what is to say that money can’t be found before 2011 to complete significant landscaping?
8, Exposed to Elements – MYTH: While not 100% enclosed as per the popular perception of an indoor stadium, it has been confirmed by modelling, that if there was a 100km/hr wind outside the building (which is rare in that part of town) during an event (again chances are negligible) then the winds inside the building will be about 5-6km/hr (can you even feel that on your face?).
9, Global Warming – MYTH: The affects of global warming if you take the extreme worse case scenario proposed by NIWA, then Mean Sea Level rise in the area in 2090 will be up to 0.80m. This isn’t insignificant, but considering this is the worse case scenario and that the surrounding land is considerably higher than a couple of meters above MSL, the worse case scenario must be taken with caution. It is equally plausible that the norm projections 90 years from now which show 0.10 to 0.30m above current MSL as a possible outcome. Besides which, the argument is that cars cause global warming, and we should be using the harbour cycle way more. That’s fine, but I thought you told us that this part of the harbour will be in the sea by 2090. Also in 2090 if we have seen such a modest increase in MSL and haven’t taken precautions for the current waterfront, we are in serious trouble anyway.
10, Terrorism – MYTH: If, and I repeat If terrorists ever wanted to attack a sports event or concert at the Stadium, then relying upon sabotage of the very well protected underground fuel storage facilities in the area wouldn’t necessarily be the best way to conduct such an attack. One would have assumed that the Sub Station currently hosed directly under one of the stands at the current stadium would have been an easier target, with equally devastating consequences. I would have thought the brand new 60,000 seat stadium in the heart of suburbia in Auckland would have been a more obvious target? But then I’m being facetious, terrorism is a serious issue, but in this case just not an issue worth giving any real credence to.
11, Stadiums halted or in decline – MYTH: Recently someone posted a comment on the ODT website claiming to have knowledge of major stadium developments in the US being halted because of the current economic climate. Quick investigation quickly dismissed this claim. Indeed of the several stadiums mentioned, only one wasn’t underway, but considering that it had been embroiled in a decade long legal battle with the city, this wasn’t at all surprising. But other stadium developments were put forward by the STS as warnings for us to heed. The only problem was, the stadiums mentioned were indeed in financial trouble some matter of years ago, but due to management changes and other factors, these (Rogers Centre in Toronto and O1 Arena in London) were now financial successes. Don’t stop at the bad news part of the story, tell the whole story (or it’s disinformation bordering on lies).
12, Opportunity Cost – MYTH: There have been suggestions that the cost of the development will have a significant opportunity cost associated with it. That would be true if the examples put forward by opponents were correct too. The sewage out fall pipe and treatment station development is not going to be shelved to pay for the stadium (indeed the pipeline is all but complete). The water quality improvements for the settlements north of Dunedin are currently being undertaken. Other opportunity costs suggested has been aged care, underprivileged council housing among other things. Problem is that these were never considerations in the first place. There was no council initiative to construct council flats for the poor or aged, and none was on the horizon.
13, Broadband – MYTH: I heard from the president of the STS Bev Butler that business were lining up to leave Dunedin because the broadband connections in this city were too poor. Only problem is that she refused to give any examples, and considering that broadband to the city is more or less as good as most cities in NZ, this claim is false. Besides the biggest industry dependent on good quality high speed internet connection, the University, has one of the best network connections in the country. But then there is also an opportunity cost to relocating a business to say Auckland, where it’s been measured that $1B a year is lost in productivity due to the poor transport infrastructure in place.
14, Science – Tech Park – MYTH: She also claimed that we should be investing in a science/technology park this was another opportunity cost. Problem is, we already have one, it’s called the university and the centre for innovation. Also since this was raised, the new School of Design incorporating business in a park like facility has been proposed. I would assume that it would have been outside the council’s brief to create a competing science/technology park to that which is currently at the University.
15, Concerts and conferences won’t be held there – MYTH: Someone asked Wellington promoters if they would consider bringing big acts to Dunedin in the new stadium, and funny they said no they wouldn’t. Of course they wouldn’t. They were asking if a Wellington business with Wellington infrastructure and Wellington business partners, do you want to take business away from you and your associated business partners and bring them to Dunedin. It’s up to our management team to be negotiating with promoters to bring the acts here, not Wellington promoters. As for conferences, arguments against these included lack of carpet and AV equipment. Considering the last conference I went to had hardwood floors and a massive PA and IT set up hired for the event, this is an argument that just doesn’t hold up. How wonderful for local businesses to be part of this associated industry in the stadium and provide this equipment. It’s all a matter of management and event management decision making, and if the right team is in place then more or less anything could be accomplished.
16, University Creep – WHAT? You are joking right? Someone was bleating in the paper the other day that University Creep was taking away prime industrial land, and besides which the Uni doesn’t pay rates, so why should the public subsidise further University development. Aside from the fact that the single largest industry in the city is the University, the largest employer and largest cultural, educational and scientific facility etc the University also contributes $1B a year to the local economy. The University dominates this city, and this city in it’s current form just simply wouldn’t be able to exist without a continually innovating and developing University. In other parts of the world it’s quite common to give such singularly large industries/educational institutions more than simply rates relief too by the way. This city is indebted to the University, and any suggestion to the contrary is simply misinformed.
17, Dwindling Capacity – MYTH: It’s been suggested (again based on myths and misunderstandings) that because the stadium is configurable, that the actual true capacity of the stadium is less then 20,000 and falling with each redesign. This simply is either a lie or myth. The capacity of the stadium is as it was proposed right from the very start. It is true that some configurations of seats for differing events is less than 20,000, indeed it could be as intimate as a couple of thousand, but that would be a desired effect for differing events.
18, Rugby Only – MYTH: Recently FIFA the world governing body of world Football (soccer) was so impressed with how New Zealand hosted the inaugural FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, that they gave a strong indication to Football NZ that we should be looking at hosting all but the biggest tournament of all, which includes the U20 Men’s and Women’s World Cup. These events are equal or similar size to past Rugby World Cups, and considering both of these are due to be held after 2011, or the year after the Rugby World Cup here, then what a golden opportunity this city has. To be included in the plans for either or both of these events would be something special and of real economic benefit to the city. But that aside, you name it, it could and should be held at the stadium. A failure of stadium management would be the only reason other events won’t be held there, and if such failure should occur, then a management change is needed not stopping this development dead in it’s undeveloped tracks.
There are numerous other arguments put forward against the stadium, which I will address in another post. Enough laughs/despair for now.