Crs. debate public safety at Rugby Park

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    CONCERN around toxic mould switched to concern about structural issues at Rugby Park in Invercargill at an extraordinary Invercargill City Council meeting on Monday.

    Kensington Consulting director Darryl Kensington last May reported they would not certify the concrete bleachers and the supporting steelwork past that current season. At the meeting, debate regarding liability and public safety concern ensued.

    Cr Peter Kett did not understand why the supporters’ clubrooms could not be used.

    “I can not see any problem… it’s the loading of the bleachers above that could cause any problem with 1500 people up there, but the part in question is only the first 10 rows, and that is not above the supporters’ club.”

    ICC building assets manager Paul Horner said they had to do something or the space underneath the bleachers could not be occupied.

    Cr Toni Biddle asked him, “so you’re saying anyone under that building, underneath those bleachers at this present point in time are at risk to the point we shouldn’t be putting anyone in there? Even though they’ve been in there the last four or five years?”

    His answer, “correct.”

    Toxic mould was also present under the west end stand.

    Cr Nobby Clark put forward the motion to undertake immediate remedial work at Rugby Park Stadium without the mention of structural work required because he “acknowledged re-structuring parts of those bleachers or to demolish them is a long-term issue, it won’t be resolved in the next few months. Part of that is driven by the fact we have done nothing since we had the report in May last year”.

    The work required would be to decontaminate the toxic mould damage, to retest the environment and to complete restoration work which permits usage of the facilities by Rugby Southland staff and the Rugby Southland Supporters’ club and be completed no later than June 2020.

    Councillors voted after nearly two hours of debate, six to five, to carry the motion.

    A report to council noted the area had been reviewed by construction and engineering experts, “with agreement on what needs to occur”. That included the demolition of bleachers, design of bracing and other work required including in-situ bleachers or balustrade, exit stairs (from the remaining stand), and concrete pad and the reinstatement of tenanted areas.

    It also said any cost for the work was presently unknown and “they (the costs) will be reported before any commitment is made”.

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