It was supposed to be a breakthrough, but Dunedin inhabitants aren’t happy that they had to pay for it. And now that it’s generating loss and proving harder to operate, many used the occasion to ridicule Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Dunedin City Council revealed report after public consultation process held recently over the future of Forsyth Barr Stadium. Main aim was to get more ideas how to increase income and community engagement in the venue’s operation.
Over 600 members of the People’s Panel (citizens) and 220 institutions were asked, how they would make the venue both more profitable and more community-friendly. Of almost 500 answers received in feedback, many are almost cruel to the City Council, who attempt to treat all suggestions seriously.
Pay it off by drug dealing?
Many people took the opportunity to make unusual remarks regarding the stadium, including using it as a dog walking venue (risk of dog faeces in turf means it not an option), including a climbing wall and swimming pool and using it as an IMAX theatre (all of which had been considered).
Then goes leasing it for grazing, growing and selling opium or cannabis or converting the stadium into a garden. Of course many replies were constructive and will be taken into account by authorities, but the negative feedback seems to be a bad sign.
Why the negativity?
Not the first bad sign, though. This Project met with fierce opposition of some inhabitants already in 2008, before construction even started. There even were lawsuits and surveys showed that the number of people in favour of this building isn’t much larger than those opposite.
To make things worse the final construction bill proved significantly larger than anticipated. And as if this wasn’t bad enough, first year in operation brought loss of $3.2m, some 50% higher than expected.
And that’s still not all people hold against Forsyth Barr Stadium, with its revolutionary combination of closed roof and natural turf proving very costly. The grass needs expensive care and requires a week to regenerate after every game, making the venue unavailable for other events most of the time. The fragile grass is seen by many as not worth the problems it’s causing with proposals to install artificial turf being considered.