The Eye of the Fish

July 22, 2011

Would you like Grandstands with that?

While the NZTA are serving up orders of Big Mac and Fries with a bit of extra Grandstand on the side, I thought we might just have a quick look at whether they are serving up a just dessert.

Now, call me a cynical old fish, but I think that graphic (please note: Not supplied by NZTA), is being economical with the truth. The picture from the paper yesterday showed a (as yet undesigned) grandstand, at about the same distance away from the existing grandstand, with a little additional skinny bit stretched out between them.

Here’s a plan of what that may look like.

In the paper however, it was described as being over on the bank, in the place of some “soviet-style” toilet block. That’s actually quite a far way away. Here’s a plan of what that may look like.

Hmmm. The little skinny stretchy bit in the middle would have to stretch an awful loooooong way then.

So what about if they had them arrayed evenly around the Basin then? Would that be the right idea?

Hmmmmmm. Something very fishy….

22 - 07 - 11

The linking “stretch” grandstand is a joke, it may have to be stretched to breaking point to do its job properly. Also if they don’t put a matching stretch stand between the Vance Stand and Old Museum grandstand its going to look very silly. I think the best they can do is make the embankment 8 metres high round there.

23 - 07 - 11

I think that the non-appearance of a picture of this from NZTA themselves, and the – presumably Dom-Post only sourced – picture of a five-minute sketch of a stand from last century – or the century before that, shows that te hands of some old duffer – perhaps like Councillor Morrison himself is involved. It’s an image perfect for old cricketing fogeys, harking back to the days of the Raj, when cricket was still played by gentlemanly chaps in white flannel.

On the other hand, a brand new stand designed for a modern world, that of Sky (cough, cough) and Packer etc screening cricket and wickets in multi-coloured jumpsuits, would be a different thing completely. A modern grandstand, stretching all the way from the Vance right round almost to the scoreboard on the other side, would do a wonderful job of screening off all the noise – and would need to be at least 10m high to screen off an 8m high viaduct/overpass. Assuming an average riser size of 400mm from one row to another, that’s about 25 rows of seats – and whether you had a permanent roof over that or not is a matter for discussion. $11m wouldn’t go very far towards that – and there is the inevitable clash with the stadium already providing seating for nearly all the cricket matches needed in Wellington. But it could be quite an exciting architectural development – isn’t that something to get your juices going? Or are you just all fish-sauce and no fish-head?

John H
25 - 07 - 11

My thoughts exactly Fishy. The first thing that went through my mind when I heard this idea mooted was where do they expect to find the events (and thus the audience) to fill these seats? Had this idea been mooted 12 years ago it would have had some legs. The Basin could have been given the capacity to take big one-day / 20-20 crowds while the stadium could have been smaller and based around a rectangular rugby / football field rather than a full-sized cricket pitch (so everyone would be seated much closer to the action for rugby etc). If we had a huge AFL following in Wellington the stadium would be properly utilised but currently it tries to satisfy a number of different sporting codes and suffers because of this. Cricket NZ throws the Basin an occasional crumb in the form of a test match but I can’t see the Stadium trust giving up one-dayers.

26 - 07 - 11

It’s good to see that my somewhat disparaged enthusiasm for a Ponte Vecchio Stand at the Basin from a few years ago has not gone unnoticed!

The best thing (perhaps the only good thing) about the infill stand plan is that it would boost the Basin spectator capacity to the point where there would be no further excuse for staging cricket at the Stadium. As the steady decline in numbers attending ODIs there demonstrates, cricket watchers do not want to spend 6-7 hours amidst concrete and extruded plastic. A 15,000 seat Basin would be just the ticket.

All it would need then would be some nice bright floodlights. Oh, and a break from the Mt Vic nimbys.

6 - 08 - 11

Letter: Money could be better spent:

“I’m disappointed to read that Wellington city councillor Ian McKinnon supports construction of a new $11 million grandstand as a trade-off for building the Transport Agency’s preferred flyover option for the Basin Reserve (July 22). The two issues that potentially affect the Basin from the new flyover are visual effects and traffic noise. As the Basin is used for fewer than 20 events each year, I can’t justify spending $11m to mask the view of the flyover when that sum could be used to build about 4km of median barriers on busy state highways.

Does Mr McKinnon think that hiding a flyover is more important than preventing often-fatal head- on collisions? The issue of traffic noise can be easily solved by installing a light- weight screen as shown in a recent motorway bridge constructed in Paris. The screen could be glazed with opaque glass to prevent motorists stopping to view events at the Basin. The screen’s cost would be about 15 per cent that of the cost of a grandstand. I trust NZTA will not bow to this grandstanding request from the Basin Reserve Trust.”

ALEX GRAY – Brooklyn