The Eye of the Fish

Maximus
April 15, 2009

Call the Commissioner

The Commissioners have been busy of late. When the going gets tough, in a small city like this, there’s only one thing to do: call in the Commissioner. The big news for Wellington is of course that Indoor Sports Centre is ready to rumble.
the_commissioner-calls
Yes, the independent Commissioner, John Anderson, has prepared his final report and is ready to report back to Wellington on the result today or tomorrow He’s reported back – see update below. We’d love to be able to scoop you (wait, we already have) the result of whether the Commissioner says “Yay”, or “No Way Jose”, to the Cobham Park Conundrum, but we can’t – it’s too close to call. Rumour has it that he has been doing his homework rather thoroughly, and delving into every corner of the schemes, so it will be interesting to see if the Mayor gets her way, or if Councillor Foster has to eat humble pie.

Of course, if the scheme goes the way of Cobham Drive, they can start work tomorrow. The drawings are all done, the Building Consent is in place, and the school children are gagging for it. Mind you, if the nod from the Commissioner goes the other way, then literally, its back to the drawing board. Still, better to sort it out now than have a lifetime of sporting sessions in the wrong location. Honeywood’s in a stew over getting hot and sweaty and taking public transport home. Jayseatee is happy to share the communal showers and then walk. The Fish is thinking: I don’t really care as I’m never going to use it anyway, but mind you: that concourse is mighty big and mighty bare…

Update: the Commissioner’s report, which I’ve skim read, has come down totally and unequivocally on the side of Cobham, and given the Concourse site a thorough pasting. While there is some one-sidedness in that (given that one scheme was taken to a preliminary design stage in 2002 and not really worked on much since, and the other has had 2 years of design work on it and is ready to be built tomorrow), there is now no doubt that the Concourse option is a total dead duck and will never raise its head again.

The report has been extreeeeemely thorough, and includes many other specialist sub-reports from other ‘experts’ in their fields, including Barry Copeland on the architecture, Graeme McIndoe on Urban Design, Lawyers, Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers, Structural Engineers, Fire Engineers, Traffic Engineers, etc etc etc.

And while they all raise some points to and for the Concourse, its all pretty definite: No Go to the Concourse. Full steam ahead for the Cobham Drive.

Andy Foster should bow to the inevitable, and graciously accept that the Concourse is dead and that Cobham is all go.

In other news from the Commissioners this week: Athfield’s fractured facade (and the building behind it) have got the go ahead this week.
ath_feather
We were kind of surprised that there wasn’t much discussion on the building from the architectural community, given that the developers had gone to the bother of having the building publicly notified. Good on them for giving people the chance to look and to comment, rather than just launching into the normal secretive behind the scenes negotiations with those shadowy figures at the Council. I’m still intrigued that there isn’t much discussion on the facade, although perhaps this has been thrown into the background given the similar fractured treatment given over to the much more controversial proposal for the National Library. We noted at the time that:

Perhaps the better question to be asking is: Why? While we here at the Fish quite like the rumpled (stilt) skin look of the eastern facade, and the overhanging glass edge (that Athfields have done so well on Chews Lane), why do we have such a tedious assemblage of orthogonalism to the south? What if the building was fractured and fractalated all over, in a pre-”the big one”-earthquake look? Is there a rationale for swopping so quickly from between Dr Jekyl one one side to Mr Hyde on the other? If so, then it spoils the look by being able to see both sides at the same time. Or is this more like a mild-mannered Clark Kent showing a respectable pair of spectacles to the accountants on Featherston St, while rapidly spinning into his skin-tight costume on Customhouse Quay? Can we expect more whizz-bang going on behind the facade, or is beauty really only just skin-deep?

Despite the report from the Commissioners giving it the OK, we still haven’t figured out an answer to any of that.

greenwelly
15 - 04 - 09

From Stuff: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/2336924/Cobham-choice-very-obvious

Cobham Park has been confirmed by an independent review as the best site for Wellington’s new indoor sports centre.

However, legal action still threatens to scupper the $49.5 million project, which has split Wellington City Council.

Independent commissioners granted consent in January for Wellington City Council to build a 12-court complex at Cobham Park in Kilbirnie.

The plans were immediately stymied by rebel councillor Andy Foster, who lodged an appeal against the decision in Environment Court.

Mr Foster argued the centre could be built for the same cost on the stadium concourse and be ready in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast and council officials maintained it would cost at least $20 million more.

The review found the concourse was “completely unsuitable” and the decision to opt for Cobham Park ended up being “very obvious”.

The legal proceedings threatened to delay the project by 18 months, but six weeks ago both sides agreed to an independent review to evaluate the merits of the two sites.

The review, led by Sir John Anderson, is estimated to have cost about $230,000 on top of the $4.6 million the council has already spent on the project.

Mr Foster had promised to withdraw his appeal to the Environment Court, but the court said today he had not yet done so.

maximus
15 - 04 - 09

Indeed. Cobham is full steam ahead. The full report is now on the WCC website for downloading and reading.
 
http://www.wellington.govt.nz/projects/new/indoorsports.html

I need to read it first before making any more comments !

Jason
15 - 04 - 09

Not a small document to be printing on the work PC, haha.

Cr Foster emailed a document out today in anticipation of the announcement, presumedly to anyone who had corresponded with him in support of the appeal, summarising and discussing the whole saga. I assume that the salient points of this will be posted on his website, too.

I’m disappointed with the result, however, the appeal and review has made the process more transparent, and makes me more comfortable with the decision. So, a victory for local government accountability and democracy then? (and at a reasonable $230,000).

Not a huge fan of the ‘fractured facade’, but I have been told I have boring taste – I really like BP House, opposite, for example.

Stephen Matthews
15 - 04 - 09

NEWS RELEASE – Mayor welcomes review backing for Cobham sports centre

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 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.”

Jason
15 - 04 - 09

What exactly is involved in appealing a resource consent? For example, I have about $15 after I pay my rent tonight. I assume that wouldn’t be enough?

Maximus
16 - 04 - 09

Appealing it means taking it to the Environment Court. Its so expensive that no human mortal could ever afford to pick up the phone and ask them how to put in an appeal, let alone employ the barrage of lawyers and ‘specialists’ that it would take to win one.

It is so absolutely min-bogglingly expensive and difficult that the present National Government has just decided to make it 10 times – maybe 100 times more difficult and expensive. Apparently the ‘little people’ ie the ‘ordinary people’ like you and me were causing such an amount of fuss that the Nats have been drawing up an Amendment to the RMA that basically takes away all your rights. The ‘Streamlining and Simplifying Amendment Bill’ has been streamlining the current bill by taking out those nasty checks and balances that made life so difficult for those poor darling developers, and now anyone who protests can be either :
a) ignored
b) bankrupted
c) lined up against a wall and shot
d) no, I made up C, but it has the same effect anyway.

Rather than taking your lunch money away from you, Jason, it may be easier to just throw you in jail now for even thinking of such a thing.

Maximus
16 - 04 - 09

and more in the Dom Post today: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/2337580/Sports-centre-decided Jason, can you post a link to the Foster website? The only one i can find for him is years out of date (when he was last sitting for election).

Or if you can, post his comment here? It’d be interesting to see what he has to say. I’d be amazed if he came back from that fighting. There are a number of points that he could fight on – but really – he’s on a hiding to hell. He’s been backed into a corner from which he just can’t come out gleaming.

erentz
16 - 04 - 09

“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.”

Stink, au. I don’t see how this is possible. Look forward to hearing the analysis.

(It didn’t need to actually be on top of the concourse, which would’ve made a difference I think.)

Honeywood
16 - 04 - 09

Thanks for the link to the report. I’ve only made it through the executive summary but even that makes it pretty clearcut. If Cr Foster is in acorner surely he hasn’t been backed in there but rather painted himself there? Either way he doesn’t seem to have done much of a job fighting it. I’m keen to know where the Centre could have gone near the stadium if not on the concourse. Have there been drawings done of this option? Curious also to know why Cr Foster et al didn’t put such an alternative to the review… Frankly, as a ratepayer, I’m pleased that we’ve avoided $23.5m unnecessary cost and a million each year in operating costs.

Mike Mellor
16 - 04 - 09

I’m the “member of the public” that the mayor refers to above, being the remaining ICSC appellant, and here’s my press release:

Wellington’s Cobham Sports Centre proposal needs improving

“Now that Sir John Anderson has decided that Cobham Park is the site for Wellington’s Indoor Community Sports Centre, the proposal needs improving so that it’s safe for pedestrians and cyclists, and so that the private car isn’t seen as the only way to get there” says Mike Mellor, whose appeal against Wellington City Council’s proposal is still active. “Largely hemmed in by fast, wide uncrossable roads and with negligible transport facilities except for over 300 free car parks, the project is not just dangerous, it’s also contrary to the Council’s own District Plan and Transport Strategy.”

“Unfortunately Sir John’s report ignores these concerns, following the Council’s example of assuming that cars are the only means of transport worth spending money on. The report incorrectly dismisses my appeal as being one just of process, and does not even mention the need for the Cobham site to conform with the District Plan”, Mellor adds. “Sir John’s report appears to treat my appeal largely as an irrelevance, and unfortunately his report is irrelevant to my appeal.”

“And we need to get on with the debate as to whether spending tens of millions of dollars on building the centre – now $49.5m, $3m more then previous estimates – and millions more each year on running it are the most sensible uses for scarce ratepayer dollars”, adds Mellor.

erentz
16 - 04 - 09

Honeywood, I posted to skyscapercity about another possible location, which I thought wasmuch more attractive for many reasons. It would definitely be a unique urban sports complex. See http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=817608

Be warned you must apply some architectural imagination. The Council suggested it wasn’t an infeasible site, just that it would present similar construction obstactles as the Concourse. Only aspects such as fire safety and so forth that I read in the DomPost article would be less of a problem since it’s not sited next to the stadium in the stadiums congregation area.

Pedestrian access is definitely better. As for parking/etc. I don’t dig the parking argument. This is the 21st Century. Haven’t read the report or seem some eyeofthefish analysis of it yet so maybe there is some truth to the parking/traffic stuff that is valid (but I’m skeptical until I read it).

erentz
16 - 04 - 09

Mike, nice work. I hope they do make the cobham site more accessible. There’s a lot that would need to be done. I think this should include: 1) Removing the round about, putting in lights. 2) Creating *good* connections between Kemp St and Rongotai Road. 3) Increasing the density of that eastern Rongotai Road area. 4) Building LRT with the Rongotai Road route I’ve proposed previously (simwgtn.blogspot.com) and thus a stop by the sports centre. 5) A proper plan for the north Kilbernie area, bounded by Cobham Drive, Evans Bay Parade, and Rongotai Road, that sees this improved with connected, walkable street patterns, and removal of big-box activity and replacement with dense living and multi-use activies. 6) Transforming Cobham Drive as an active street/boulevard rather than a pseudo-expressway, with active building frontages.

Honeywood
16 - 04 - 09

Thanks Erentz. I looked at your idea on skyscrapercity and it does appear squeezed down. I don’t feel that able to comment because I haven’t looked at all the areas required but I would be concerned about trying to construct a two storey structure simply because the footprint was too small. I can speak to the carparking issue. I’m a bit too long in the tooth (or frail of ankle) to play indoor netball now but when I did it was in a social league that played in the evenings and our games would be scheduled anywhere from 6 – 10pm. If it was at 6, I could go straight after work, the game would be 40 minutes long. If I had my car I could be home in time for Shortland Street. If I caught the bus (which I did occasionally), I’d add another hour (due to schedules, the walk to the bus and the walk home at the other end). So a one hour exercise stint could easily turn into two hours gone from my evening if I depended on public, not private transport. However, if my game was scheduled for 9 I could go home for dinner, then race out in the car, play, and be home again in a little over an hour. But if I wanted to use public transport in both directions, it could easily turn into a three hour exercise. Indoor sports are a great social way to get regular exercise quickly and it’s hugely popular because it doesn’t take out too much of your evening. Parking helps make this happen. The concourse has been favoured by some because of its proximity to the train system. However, indoor sports are plentiful in Porirua and the Hutt Valley and people like to play near where they live. I suspect very few non-Wellingtonians would change their habits just because they could catch a train afterwards.

davidp
16 - 04 - 09

I think the railway site needs some long term strategy and locating a sports center there would only complicate that process. It is ridiculous that we reserve an area of land about the same size as the entire CBD for the purposes of rearranging trains. And even more ridiculous that this is right on the doorstep of Parliament. Using trains for freight just isn’t sustainable in NZ over the long term. Once we’ve realised that, then the yards have no purpose. The commuter lines can be either rationalised or rationalised and cut-and-covered. Then the whole area can be redeveloped with a billion dollars or more of buildings… commercial, residential, and entertainment related. The ugly concourse could be torn down and replaced by streets, but not if you’ve build a sports center on top of it.

Honeywood
16 - 04 - 09

I agree. The area from the railway station north (known as the Northern Gateway) isthe city’s most valuable undeveloped land. Ad hoc development now will only complicate things in the future. Smart long-term planning could make this area really vibrant. Various Government departments already think so and are busy making deals with the port and developers to build and lease back. This needs to be controlled before we lose future options.

rondo
16 - 04 - 09

Erentz, so much of what you do is very good, but some of it is just so wrong.
Re your comments: “I think this should include:
1) Removing the round about, putting in lights.
—-absolutely not, that would be a disaster. Its a high speed road, essential for getting people in and out of the city fast. Nothing should stand in its way of doing that.

2) Creating *good* connections between Kemp St and Rongotai Road.
—-great idea, yes, yes, yes

3) Increasing the density of that eastern Rongotai Road area.
—-great idea, yes, yes, yes

4) Building LRT with the Rongotai Road route I’ve proposed previously (simwgtn.blogspot.com) and thus a stop by the sports centre.
—-absolutely positively yes. totally agree.

5) A proper plan for the north Kilbernie area, bounded by Cobham Drive, Evans Bay Parade, and Rongotai Road, that sees this improved with connected, walkable street patterns, and removal of big-box activity and replacement with dense living and multi-use activies.
Yes, and no. See below.

6) Transforming Cobham Drive as an active street/boulevard rather than a pseudo-expressway, with active building frontages.
—-absolutely not, that would be a disaster. Its a high speed road, essential for getting people in and out of the city fast. Nothing should stand in its way of doing that. 99% of people using that road will never ever want to go to the Indoor Sports Centre, and instead all they want to do is zip along there and get into town. Its a traffic corridor only, and needs to stay that way.

electric
16 - 04 - 09

It will be a nice thing to have for the Wellington region, but I have a couple of questions- where will the money be coming from to pay for it- is it fully borrowed from future ratepayers and if not, exactly how much will be added to Wellington City’s debt mountain?

Also is there any connection between this and the “need” for a second Mt Vic tunnel- is this a calculated move to increase the traffic count, making a stronger case for central govt to fund a new tunnel? Or is it more of a loose part of the plan to grow the city eastwards along the “spine” through Newtown? Or, more conspiratorially, is it because that stadium concourse land will be worth an absolute fortune if it is redeveloped for commercial/residential use one day?

The speed at which this report has been put together indicates the decision has already been made- let’s hope it’s the right one.

Maximus
16 - 04 - 09

electric – good questions.
As far as I am aware, the cost has been allowed for in the 10 year plan as a cost centre in a going forward situation, or whatever fancy accounting terms they use. So, yes, its future debt, but for the future youth of the city. So – they will be using it – they can pay for it !

and re the tunnel, sorry – the need for a SECOND traffic tunnel, no, the traffic engineers didn’t really look that far down the road. But there are definite plans for the Wellington Road / back of Haitaitai stretch anyway. Seeing as it will be 2 lanes each way on each side of the tunnel, it seems sort of mad not to actually do the second tunnel as well.

Of course, what tehy need is not just a second tunnel, but a third one. Two for cars, and one for people walking and on bicycles. Cos the current one, is, literally, stink.

Maximus
16 - 04 - 09

Erentz, Rondo,
i sort of agree with both of you. Cobham Drive is totally wasted as a beachfront high speed expressway, seeing as it is on the edge of north facing sea views – jusrt about the most valuable real estate in certain terms. But it would be a bad thing to slow the traffic down there.

What they really need to do is flip the high speed part of the road over to the other side of the Indoor Sports centre, so it was up against the sea front, and the road went inland. Then that whole waterfront along there could get developed, off a slower speed local road, and with nice wide harbour front walkways, and room for glitzy houses or even (dreaming now) low cost affordable homes.

And it would solve Mike Mellor’s access issues…..

guy
16 - 04 - 09

erentz,
there is a problem with your plan in terms of its multi-use function, but otherwise its a really good idea, that one day someone will take it up and run with.

The multi-use thing is that there are many ways to run a Sports Centre, and many different events. For some things they will have all 12 courts going, others will re-group and put up seating and subdivide it down to, say, 6 courts, and for other sports perhaps they will focus on just two or maybe even one central court, with lots of spectator seating around.

So a two level playing court would be on a difficult start.

But the concept of building on / over railway yards has been done before and will be done here too, one day, i’m sure.

Maximus
16 - 04 - 09

Mike Mellor,

Good on you for sticking to your guns, you’ve asked some fair questions and they deserve to be addressed.
“… the proposal needs improving so that it’s safe for pedestrians and cyclists, and so that the private car isn’t seen as the only way to get there” ….. “Largely hemmed in by fast, wide uncrossable roads and with negligible transport facilities except for over 300 free car parks, the project is not just dangerous, it’s also contrary to the Council’s own District Plan and Transport Strategy.”

You’re likely to get quite a bit of flack from the public, so i hope you’ve got broad shoulders – and deep pockets.

I’m with you on the lack of adequate transport – I think you’ll be proven right in years to come, as the extra traffic burden clogs the roads and people get run over on the roundabout….. but in our current car-obsessed culture, that’s seen as the only way forward.

Honeywood
16 - 04 - 09

Guy, I’m with Erentz on this one. This was never intended to be a multi-use or multi-purpose sports centre. The council has made this quite clear as has the Anderson review. It is purely for recreational participatory sports and not spectator sports. The Cobham design has no seating, permanent or temporary. Multi-purpose sports stadia usually serve all activities inadequately (witness the TSB Arena) and are very much out of favour now. So a double stacking solution could work. My concern would be if this was done purely because the site was too small to sustain a single floor solution – that suggests that it is probably the wrong site to begin with…

Concordia
17 - 04 - 09

I think this whole think sounds fishy, just a bunch of gonzeaux journalism.
I would have liked to seen an apples with apples proper q.s break down of numbers.

rondo
17 - 04 - 09

Maximus – i think you’re wrong about the traffic engineers. It seems to me that they’re quite concerned about the traffic that will be generated at the Cobham Drive site. The Council’s answer to this is that they are planning to do a whole lot of traffic work there anyway, which just co-incidentally will address the issues being raised, and so therefore the cost is not included in the Cobham cost.

(incidentally, the possible extra ‘flyover’ costing $20m that ‘would be needed’ at Stadium Concourse site – John Anderson says rubbish, no, its not needed at all).

The existing Cobham traffic problems that already occur are identified as (appendix 8.05, section 4.1 to 4.5):
4.1 Roundabout at Cobham Drive and Troy St. Existing peak hour congestion gets much worse. it is already “oversaturated and unable to provide an acceptable quality of service to its users”
4.2 There is no right turn from Kemp St to Troy St
4.3 Kemp St will get used by heavy vehicles and the local residents are not happy
4.4 Existing Cobham roundabout has a poor safety record, with 49 crashes over last 5 years, 11 serious, but no deaths
4.5 No pedestrian crossing on Cobham Drive from north to south

Under section 7, the traffic bods note that “the average queue length on Cobham Drive (east) on a Saturday could extend from 166m to 260m with the ICSC. For Wellington Road, the average queue length increases from 103m to 145m. These are AVERAGE queues and the maximum queue length could be regarded to be 2 to 3 times that of the average….. …this shows that expecting vehicles accessing ICSC to travel via either Evans Bay Parade or Oriental Bay will lead to significant delays and could possibly impede through traffic using the state highway.”

They then go on in section 9 with some fairly hefty concerns about parking etc, all of which also need ot be addressed, and do mention that the Mt Vic tunnel duplication is already on the Council’s list via the Ngauranga to Airport Study. So, yes, I’d say that they have not exactly given it a clean bill of health.

Maximus
17 - 04 - 09

rondo, points taken. I’d agree that the queues along Cobham Drive will be nasty – they already are. But just to show how dull and lacking in creative thought these traffic engineers are, did you notice that they were very dismissive of the need for any pedestrian traffic crossing over Cobham from north to south, as not many people used it at present?

Well, duh! There’s not a ICSC there at present! Once there is, I’m picking there will be a need for some form of safe crossing, and it won’t be until there have been a couple of schoolchildren flattened that we’ll start to take that seriously…

Its also notable that the Traffic engineers were specifically excluded from looking at sustainable transport: “The issue of sustainability and particularly energy savings and vehicle emissions has been specifically excluded, as it is not in the terms of reference.” I think that may be one of the areas that Foster will be going in to bat over.

and Concordia – i suggest you read the report. All the numbers you could wish for, right in there.

jayseatea
17 - 04 - 09

I have to admit that the result is not what I would have liked to have seen, but additional oversight into such a large project is always a good thing. That said I still wonder if there are some items that have not been clearly addressed. I have only read the exec. summary, not the whole report, but I am struck by the difference between what Guy said (which I agree with, and was going to note as well), and Honeywood’s reply. The difference being, is this purely a community sports centre, or is it a multi-purpose sports centre? The answer appears in the brief for the sports centre (http://www.wellington.govt.nz/projects/new/indoorsports.html) which indicates the following uses:
seating for 1,000 spectators
meeting and social spaces
kitchen facilities
tournament control
changing facilities and services.

In addition, a WCC newsletter indicates additional uses:
http://www.wellington.govt.nz/plans/annualplan/0708/pdfs/14social.pdf
Which include the ability to seat 4000 people in a banquet setting (which necessitates that all courts be on the same floor and open on to each other, to allow for flexibility.

This is not privileged information, it’s all on the WCC website.

jayseatea
17 - 04 - 09

Sorry, just to finish my thought-

So the question is, why do people have the idea that the programme for this building is something that it is not? If city representatives have said that it is not intended to be used this way, then the proof is on the website that the information they are providing is not true. Or is it a case of people thinking that the centre will be what they want it to be and not reviewing the stated intentions?

Stephen Matthews
17 - 04 - 09

This is me writing in a private capacity, not as a member of the Mayor’s staff.

With reference to Rondo’s view of traffic lights – I used to commute to work in Portsmouth, on the south coast of England. At Paulsgrove on the outskirts of the city is the junction of the A27 and A3 roads, which also takes traffic heading to and from the M27 motorway. This used to be a huge roundabout, bigger and busier than the Cobham Drive one. It was a ghastly bottleneck, very congested and dangerous for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists alike. In the early 2000s sometime it was replaced by what was then claimed to be (if my memory serves me right) Europe’s most complicated traffic light-controlled junction. It seemed that nobody except the traffic engineers believed it would work,and we all complained about the disruption during the building, but bugger me – what an improvement, despite the cynicism of almost everyone. If you can find it on Google Earth (look for Western Road, Portsmouth) you can see part of the disused roundabout carriageway and related roads to the north of the junction, which gives you an idea of the scale. Which is a long way of saying, and I repeat that this is a personal opinion, not a reflection of council thinking, that the idea shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

Honeywood
17 - 04 - 09

Jayseatea, I’m not a defender of the faith, merely an observer. An earlier EOTF post from February, http://eyeofthefish.org/indoor-sports-centre/424/ included a plan of the proposed centre at Cobham Drive. There are two sets of 6 courts that couldn’t be joined together for a banquet or anything else. There is nary a seat in sight nor any seating blocks that are rolled out of the way – or any spaces that could accommodate temporary seating; the vestigial spaces to the side (in dark orange) look like they could be used for storage but I doubt whether you’d get 4000 (or even 1000) seats in them. The box like spaces that open on the courts look like equipment stores. The other ancillary spaces appear to be toilets and changing (at the top), stairs to the underground carpark (in the middle), entry and administration at the bottom. There is no catering kitchen or similar facility. This could be in the basement but I would assume that is all for cars. How or why this changed from the earlier brief and newsletter you identify, I have no idea. I suspect that as the project advanced, the architects or the WCC or both, discovered that making it multi-purpose would not serve any purpose well and would add considerably to the cost. Spectator netball and basketball games will continue to be held at the TSB arena which is much better suited for them. There is no reason to make the ISC available for spectator sports. There are also better purpose-bulit facilities in the city for banquets.

rondo
17 - 04 - 09

Banquets are a big part of the equation. With Cobham, they are virtually banned. Only 2 events a year allowed, from memory, as part of the RC conditions.

Andy Foster’s argument (in part, at least) was that by having it in the city, more banquets would be able to be had. (not just banquets obviously, but other large non-sport events). Indeed, there could be banquets (concerts, special events) every night of the year (EXCEPT when the Stadium was full).

However, Anderson’s report makes it very clear that the sports people absolutely hate that sort of thing, and it screws their whole life up and they don’t want to have big events there ever. So, Cobham drive’s measly 2 per year suits them fine.

erentz
17 - 04 - 09

I don’t really understand why the space couldn’t be used for other things either. Clearly sports should have priority, but if they’re not using it, and someone else wants to, why is that a bad thing?

This is one of the things I also thought more attractive about my 2-level proposal. It creates four separate, different sized areas. If Indoor Sports is only using 6 courts over first two weeks of Dec, or 9 courts over the last week of february (etc. etc.) then this allows you to have a separate space that is free for use by other people (whether it is a conference coming to town, a banquet, whoever is just looking for a space). And the sports people never even have to see them, and vice versa.

But if the overwhelming pressure is against that so be it. (Definitely shouldn’t be another TSB arena, and doesn’t need to have fancy kitchen facilities, etc. in my mind it was just about making space available for other users when possible.)

rondo
17 - 04 - 09

…which leaves the Concourse site open for potential use as a site JUST for banquets, concerts, conferences etc…. ? Brilliant ! And when its not being used for Banquests and conferences, then maybe it could be used for a little bit of lunchtime sport…?

Stephen Matthews
17 - 04 - 09

Mayor’s Office hat on again now.

The ICSC is definitely a community sports centre, the primary purpose of which is hands-on sport. Rondo remembers right – under the Resource Consent granted in January 2009 special events will be limited to two per year and are likely to take the form of banquets for sporting tournaments. The ICSC will also be able to host regional or national tournaments, but this is very much a secondary function. The ICSC is not designed to be and will not be multi-purpose like the TSB Bank Arena, which hosts concerts, shows, exhibitions, major sports events and more, or the Concourse proposal. It will meet a perceived need for more community sport provision, not for more banquets.

Honeywood
17 - 04 - 09

Nice of the mayor to lend you her hat. It amuses me that every time a new building is proposed, we immediately seek to expand its use, ensuring compromise all round. I don’t hear anyone calmouring to use the St James stage for indoor netball when they don’t have show son… New Zealand is full of buildings that are jacks of all purposes and suited to none. Wer should have the courage to design to a purpose and do it effectively and elegantly instead of cramming activities together (in pursuit of what?) for the sake of some weird sense of efficiency.