When ‘the Stadium’ (note the word Caketin will not be used again in this column) opened it was heralded as ground breaking, modern and everything Wellingtonians had been missing out on following years of putting up with the ‘Grand Old Lady’ Athletic Park. Military Tattoos, Aussie Rules, WWE even Wellingtons Club Rugby finals got to play there.
Dear oh dear how things have changed and the mighty fallen – we now have a different type of Dinosaur except with 40 years to go this one is nowhere near going extinct !
A quick list of the current status of ‘the Stadium’ as it now stands reveals:
– It is now the most expensive to attend in the country (by some margin too).
– It has shown to be poorly designed (read ‘leaky’) with little or no leg room for entry/exit to aisles (get ready to have plenty of Beer spilled on your lap throughout your stay by the multitude of drunken ‘fans’ that attend games).
– It is six kilometres (yes six !) from the sophisticated heart of Wellington, Courtenay Place (unless you want to drink at the glorified beer halls that are the Waterloo or Trax Taverns). Pack your hiking boots or take an extra $20 for the taxi fare if you want to go out properly afterwards. The tag of city stadium is simply not true.
– Parking near the stadium requires a visit to your bank manager to take up a third mortgage as well as committing your first born ($30 for 2 hours – really ?!)
– The food is, well lets just say a cold burger or a $5 box of ‘donuts’ (wtf) washed down with a warm Tui (yuk) in a brown bottle isn’t my idea of culinary delight.
– Don’t expect anymore Rolling Stones or Robbie Williams concerts either – AC/DC’s noise and the associated Hutt Valley based crowds has put paid to that.
The concourse (it’s really just a concrete track named after a great Wellington Mayor) is accessible for around one month of the year but as soon as Wellington’s infamous winter bites, patrons are required to circumvent something out of the ‘Amazing Race’ in order to reach their seats without getting soaked or freezing to death. As Dunedin has recently shown, a Stadium without a roof is really just a glorified ground isn’t it ?
There’s been lots of talk from the Stadium Trust and the Hurricanes/ Phoenix/ Wellington RFU but very little real action to improve things. The result has been a sea of yellow seats being visible for every event carried on TV.
Unless something is done very quickly to improve things, this ‘Regional Asset’ will quickly become a Wellington City rate and taxpayer ‘Liability’. No amount of pomp and ceremony by Mystery (it’s a bloody mystery how he has stayed on the council for so long) Morrison.
Next week: the solution and why the Basin Reserve holds the key.