Mayor Welcomes Review Backing for Cobham Sports Centre

16 April 2009

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast has welcomed the review report from Sir John Anderson confirming Cobham Park as the best site for the Indoor Community Sports Centre.

"While I think it's most unfortunate that we have had to review the proposed site for a fourth time simply because Councillor Andy Foster didn't accept the numbers, it's great to have independent confirmation that we have got it right.

"There has been a lot of confusion and concern caused by misinformation and misunderstanding and I think, if nothing else, Sir John's findings and recommendations should put a lot of people's mind at ease.

"I am also glad that the accuracy and robustness of the work done to date by Council staff on the ICSC project has been validated by Sir John. I am sure they must feel vindicated by his report and so they should."

Mayor Prendergast says she hopes the review's findings will be widely read by Wellingtonians so they understand the rationale for the decision taken to site the ICSC at Cobham and why the alternative Westpac Stadium Concourse proposal was not viable.

"The difference in costs was an important factor in our decision-making but, as Sir John's review has confirmed, there are many other complicating factors with the Concourse site that simply make it impractical.

"In fact, the work done by Sir John and his team has uncovered even more issues than our initial assessment of the proposal, confirming that as it stands it would be virtually impossible to get a building consent on the Concourse."

Sir John will present his findings and recommendations to Councillors at a meeting on Monday and Mayor Prendergast says she is looking forward to his presentation.

She emphasised that in agreeing to the review, the Council agreed to abide by its outcome and recommendations so the decision to site the ICSC at Cobham Park was now final.

At Monday's meeting Councillors will receive the report and be able to ask Sir John's experts questions but because it endorses previous Council decisions there will be no further vote taken.

"Cr Foster promised Council that he would withdraw his appeal to the Environment Court before the release of the report," says Mayor Prendergast. "I understand that he hasn't done that yet and I look forward to him doing so.

"A member of the public has also appealed the resource consent but I hope we can move quickly to resolve that as there have already been too many unfortunate delays to this project which is so desperately needed and will benefit so many Wellingtonians."