Grandstand repair delays disappoint

    An earthquake-prone warning notice installed at the entrance to the Surrey Park grandstand says the Invercargill City Council needs to fix it by 2044.

    PRESIDENTS of two Southland sports groups are urging council to sort issues with the Surrey Park grandstand in Invercargill.

    It was deemed an earthquake risk in October 2018 and, at the time, Invercargill City Council (ICC) erected signs at the entrance advising users to enter it at their own risk.

    A year later, ICC changed the sign which now states the building is not a “priority building” and the owner (ICC) is required to complete seismic works by 2044.

    Waihopai Football Club outgoing president Gordon Crombie and Athletics Southland president Chris Knight believed this was not good enough and were disappointed with the amount of time it had taken for a decision to be made.

    Crombie said the grandstand was an essential community facility.

    “Years ago, the city council had set aside some money to repair the grandstand but nothing has eventuated.

    “Then they [ICC] had engineers looking at it… since then there have been a few meetings with the city council and there has been no update.

    “It is kind of limbo and it is frustrating. It seems nothing is happening around it [this matter].”

    Crombie said after two years with no progress, he would be leaving the president’s role quite frustrated.

    It was hard for local groups to make future plans as they didn’t know what would happen with the grandstand, Crombie said.

    The Athletics Southland group hoped to have the matter fixed by the end of the year so the group could host two important events in 2022.

    It had been approached by Colgate Games to host the next meet in January which would see about 1000 athletes competing at one of New Zealand’s largest athletics competition for children aged 7 to 14 years.

    He said the club was having discussions with the organisation of Interprovincial Championships to host the event in Southland next year.

    But if the grandstand could not be fixed by then, Southland could lose the opportunity to host both important events, he said.

    People had been using the facility “as normal” but he said this was not an ideal situation as it posed a safety risk to members of the public.

    He also highlighted athletics was a sports model where spectators could not watch from ground level very well.

    “You need to be above it, so having a grandstand is very important for us to hold those events.”

    Mr Knight acknowledged if ICC decided to demolish the whole grandstand to build a new one, it would not be available for the competitions.

    However, he was urging ICC to create a temporary solution in the meantime.

    “To be able to continue to hold and attract events to the region, we need to have a grandstand in place.”

    ICC leisure and recreation group manager Steve Gibling said a governance group would present a report and recommendations to council in March.

    “The final report and subsequent recommendations relating to Surrey Park will be first agreed by the governance group and then presented to council via the infrastructural services committee for approval,Nike shoesBuy Junior Milwaukee Bucks Logo Essential Hoodie