Sports Grandstand Upgrade Needed

Athletics Southland chairman Chris Knight said the grandstand was used regularly by club members and supporters during club competitions.

Athletics Southland has about 600 members.

It was also used by various Invercargill school groups for school sports days, he said.

Southland primary schools’ sporting events attracted about 1200 competitors, as well as parents and grandparents who came along to support them, he said. The grandstand was also near capacity during secondary schools’ sports days.

“It is chock-a-block any time school events are on down there.”

Waihopai Association Football Club president Jim Carroll said although the club leased space under the grandstand to use as its clubrooms, its members and supporters rarely utilised the grandstand.

“It is important to our club that [the grandstand] stays… because we have nowhere else to go, but at the end of the day we don’t have a lot of people sitting in it,” he said.

“It would be hard to justify the cost [associated with upgrading the grandstand]. Surely the money could be better spent in other areas.”

A report about the condition of the grandstand from civil engineering and infrastructure consultants WSP Opus was presented to the Invercargill City Council’s infrastructure and services committee meeting last week.

WSP Opus had been engaged to review a structural engineering report on the grandstand carried out by Kensington Consulting in 2013.

The review results were in line with the 2013 report, which found the 51-year-old Surrey Park grandstand to be 30% of new building standards.

Invercargill City Council parks manager Robin Pagan said $514,000 had been set aside for the project, but final costings for repair work and seismic strengthening were still to be determined.

WSP Opus was now in the process of working out what work would be needed to bring the grandstand up to 67% of new building standards.

“We don’t know what it would [cost] to bring it up to that requirement – it may reveal it might not be worth bringing it up, it may be better to replace it.”

Because significant funding was already available for the project, work could start immediately following a plan being confirmed, Mr Pagan said. In the meantime, the council intended to erect signs at the entrance advising users of the potential risks.

“In comparison to some other public facilities, the grandstand has a relatively low level of use.”

 

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