In a move that has completely flummoxed us fishy writers, Mayor Kerry Prendergast, we’re pleased to scoop (in that newsworthy way), will soon announce that the new Inner City Sports Facility will indeed be shifted back to the central city site next to the Stadium.
Groans have been heard from school children in Kilbirnie – but hey, that’s life in a big city where the political move can swing faster than any tide. The latest “independent” review of the Cobham Drive proposal is due out from the even-more-independent-reviewer-than-the-last-one at mid-day today, and we’ll be huddled around our watches counting down for the very moment. The announcement is being widely tipped to not just back ‘rebel’ Councillor Andy Foster, but to secure him a lead role in the new project now that it’s back on the Stadium site.
While we applaud the move, and this clear indication that the council actually can listen (when it either wants to or is forced to), we want more than this sniff of seaside sensibilities.
We want to see the City Sports Centre as part of a fully comprehensive design for the area – a plan which demonstrates that not only can the public be taken for a ride on brand spanking new light rail carriages, leaping like muscle-bound stallions from their multi-modal transport interchange, but that we can also be enticed to magically wander down through to the waterfront on what the Council Parks and Reserves Department have judiciously named the ‘Greening of the Quays,’ conjuring up a far more pleasant pedestrian walkway along the waterfront promenade than what this wind-blasted area can currently supply. We thought that our fisheye could lead you down the proposed conceptual garden path and up onto the concourse, to walk you through the new stadium building. What a wonderful world you might say – almost too good to be true.
Some work imaging this blissful future can be garnered from work of Stephenson and Turner in the 2002 Maskell Report evaluating the Stadium concourse as a site for the proposed Indoor Sports Centre. The new SCISSoR (an acroynm of our own concoction: Sporting Centre Indoor Stadium Site on Reclamation) is understood to contain the requisite 12 netball courts and permit construction to proceed while preparations for the Rugby World Cup to proceed. Shiny bright light rail will deliver athletics and spectators to the courtside in one huge sporting architectural love-fest.
Andy Foster will be a referee par-excellence. The Stadium site manager is to issue free season tickets, and it’s not just senior citizens who get to ride on public transport for nothing. Spring is eternal, it never rains – it shines, and Mayor Kerry bounces on to the netball court to not only kiss Councillor Foster, but also to make up. Thanks Kerry, for making up our day.