Mayoral Candidate Stephen Berry says we should sell surplus stadiums
In the run up to #Auckand2016 and the Local Elections Talking Southern Auckland from time to time will look at some of the larger issues facing either Southern Auckland or wider Auckland. This morning mayoral candidate Stephen Berry has mentioned about the Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) Stadium Strategy that has been dogged in controversy.
Sell Auckland’s surplus stadiums – Berry
“Auckland has too many stadiums and the Auckland Council should look at selling some of them,” Mayoral candidate Stephen Berry says.
The Affordable Auckland leader has described Auckland’s stadium situation as a “debacle,” after the council’s stadiums strategy was sent back to the drawing board yet again. Council-controlled Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) has been given another year to consult on its strategy, which has upset the Warriors franchise over plans to move its games to QBE Stadium in Albany.
Berry says the Auckland Council should kick the current strategy to touch and change its entire approach to managing Auckland’s stadiums. “The stadiums strategy will leave sports fans unhappy and ratepayers out of pocket, funding white elephants that sit empty for most of the year.
“Auckland has an oversupply of stadiums and the Auckland Council needs to think seriously about selling one or more of them. For those that remain, we need to make sure the sports codes that use them pay for their fair share of their upkeep.”
Berry says the council should appoint an independent panel to review the region’s stadiums, with a focus on reducing costs for ratepayers. “As an example, the council is planning to spend millions upgrading Western Springs to host one cricket match a year. This has all the makings of a white elephant, which is ironic considering its close proximity to Auckland Zoo. Cities around the world have got themselves into financial strife by spending too much on sports stadiums for little return. Auckland needs to avoid making the same mistakes.”
“Several of Auckland’s stadiums are in prime locations and would fetch attractive prices if sold,” Berry says. “The money raised from stadium sales could be used to pay off debt, reduce rates increases or even fund the infrastructure and transport improvements Auckland desperately needs.”
He says it’s “questionable” whether the council should even own stadiums. Eden Park, the largest stadium in the country, is run by a separate trust.
“At the very least, RFA should be merged with another council-controlled organisation, such as ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) to save costs.”