Stadium turf

### ODT Online Tue, 28 Jul 2009
‘Grass will grow in stadium’
By David Loughrey

The success of an experiment designed to discover whether grass would grow under the roof of Forsyth Barr Stadium has its developers expecting there will be only limited restrictions on the stadium’s use.
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13 Comments

Filed under Architecture, CST, Design, Media, Project management, Site, Stadiums

13 responses to “Stadium turf

  1. David

    So if the turf won’t handle three events in two weeks, what gets priority?

    The concert? Crusty Demons? or 3500 at an NPC rugby game?

    The ORFU refused to be an anchor tenant, and will only hire for each event.

    As owners of the venue, surely ratepayers would get a better return from a concert or Crusty Demons than from rugby.

    So where do the rugby games play if another larger event wants to use the stadium?

  2. David

    Elizabeth – apparently Carisbrook is at the end of it’s useful life and couldn’t possibly be used any more to host rugby.

    However if spectator numbers continue to decline at the same rate they have in the past 9 years, by the time the new stadium is finished everyone will fit in the old corporate boxes.

    The artificial turf will be interesting. Some of the council grounds are a mess. I watched a kids game at Maori Hill on Saturday and the ground was a health hazard for the children. It was a soggy bog that doubled as the local dog toilet – there was so much dog sh!t that the whole place stunk.

  3. Richard

    There is 100% artificial turf and reinforced turf. The former is used extensively in the US, the latter is used at Eden Park. I am not certain as to whether it is just used in areas that are heavily shaded or the entire playing surface. I think the former.

    Natural grass grows through it and, as I understand it constitutes the major part of the playing surface hence “the reinforcement).

    As you will know Elizabeth from your extensive reading of the stadium documentation/papers (you are one of the few critics who have accomplished that feat!), the reinforced turf ( I have forgotten its ‘trade name’) was considered for the new stadium but the project team decided that there was no point in unnecessarily spending the $900,000 ‘up front’ when the tests over 2 years for turf growing under EFTE have been so positive. It remains in the provided contingencies.

    So, I would take it from the discussions I have been party to at council, that Ch9 is referring to the reinforced turf and its possible use on certain grounds that are heavily used in winter.

    It is certainly one of the options for Carisbrook if it continues life (as I hope it will) as a (more extensively used) sporting ground.

    As a side note, many stadiums in the US (especially the ones linked to or part of universities) that use 100% artificial surfaces have – or are moving – to the reinforced surface.

    So, to play on the sign-off phrase used by the late Walter Cronkite, “that is the way the grass is growing tonight”.

  4. mike

    Artificial turf is despised by professional sportspeople in the US, and there is anecdotal evidence that the injury rate is a lot higher. Good to see they are moving away from that idea.

  5. Call me cynical but,

    “The concert? Crusty Demons? or 3500 at an NPC rugby game”

    When was the last time all three events were on in the same 2 week period in the middle of Winter in Dunedin – It’s not concert season!

    Leave the rubbish about declining numbers, it’s cyclical, and as we know Dunedin sells out test match rugby.

    “there was so much dog sh!t that the whole place stunk”

    that is not the council’s fault, it’s a public issue.

    I’m not into the artificial turf thing, as a footballer. Grounds are managed and they are managed well. The whole point of playing a WINTER sport in WINTER is to get muddy and have a heck of a good time doing it. Hockey on artificial turf makes sense, the ball can run true, not bobble up and kill somebody. Football and rugby should not be played on artificial turf. If we go that route, goodbye to any Dunedin representatives ever again at National level Rugby and Football – we just wouldn’t be up to it (the playing surfaces and run of the ball are completely different).

    Having said that, the last 4 games I have played at both Forrester and The Oval have been on fantastic surfaces. Sure Roslyn’s grounds are a mess, but you only need a heavy dew there and the ground turns to bog.

    Sure the council could do better in maintaining some of the grounds (The Gardens / Northern Football is a joke!), but if you are going to moan about dog poo everywhere, sorry that is another issue altogether.

  6. Richard

    Interesting examples Paul – both The Oval (many years back) and Forrester Park (much more recently) were the city landfills!

  7. David

    Richard – and Sunnyvale. Though for many years particles of metal and glass from the landfill used to slowly make their way to the surface.

    Paul says “Leave the rubbish about declining numbers, it’s cyclical…”

    Far from being rubbish as you claim – it’s a clearly provable fact. Spectator numbers have been going drastically downhill for nearly a decade (so if it’s only a cycle, then it’s a very very long one that has yet to reach the bottom).

    Paul – I get your point about concerts and rugby clashing – the new stadium isn’t likely to be used much in winter – except for rugby.

  8. David

    Elizabeth – last year’s NPC had an average of just 3700 spectators per game. You’d think that ANY OTHER use of the stadium would get more people than that (nearly 90% empty).

    So maybe Richard is right and we really do need to hold on to Carisbrook, as if the stadium is going to be successful and used often, we’ll need it to play rugby games.

  9. Richard

    When its days of hosting major rugby matches are over, Carisbrook could be used for a lot of sports in the future. The facilities could easily house several clubs making it a ‘home’ which many would see as prestigious.

    With some tweaking and reshaping there is room to provide two full rugby fields for a start while retaining most of the ‘built’ facilities.

    That may release other use, some of the existing, scattered and under-utilised grounds, many of which are in poor condition for playing sports etc. With what is happening at the ocean front, we may have no option but to relinquish some of the fields there if the coastline is to be restored to its natural configuration.

    As I have often said here before, the future use of Carisbrook is the key to the future (re)development of South Dunedin and Caversham.

    Hopefully the new duned.in site will enable an expansive discussion on that!

    I suppose I should add that these are my personal thoughts. I know that some of my council colleagues are also thinking on the same lines but “nothing is on the table yet”.

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