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Yarrow Stadium revamp budget balloons to NZ$70m

The budget for the revamp of Yarrow Stadium in New Zealand is set to rise to NZ$70m (£36.1m/€42.7m/$43m) due to cost increases and supply chain issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical turmoil, the Taranaki Regional Council has announced today (Tuesday).

The original budget had been set at NZ$50m, but TRC chairman David MacLeod has revealed that the council is now anticipating a 40% increase.

Yarrow Stadium, which is located in the city of New Plymouth, suffered significant damage during the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake, which left two stands unsafe to use. The stadium previously had a capacity of 25,000 but this is set to decrease slightly following the revamp, with its main East Stand being demolished and replaced.

The West Stand will also be repaired and is due to be reopened in September, while the new East Stand is projected to open in 2024.

The stadium served as a home venue for the Super Rugby’s Chiefs prior to the earthquake. Other improvements will include a more resilient pitch and replacing the old lights with a brighter, more eco-friendly LED system.

The TRC, which owns the venue through the Taranaki Stadium Trust, has also revealed an artist’s impression of the redesigned East Stand (pictured) today. MacLeod said the finalising of the stand’s design marks a major milestone for the project.

MacLeod said: “We think the East Stand’s design is absolutely fantastic and we hope our community will be thrilled when they see the artist’s impression and the details about the facilities on offer. We’re delighted to have been collaborating with Ngāti Te Whiti and their mahi is helping to make the stand a special place and unique to our region.”

MacLeod said that the original NZ$50m budget was based on the repair of the TSB Stand, which ultimately had to be demolished because repair work was uneconomic. Work on the East Stand’s design and costing is continuing but the overall budget target has been readjusted to NZ$70m.

“It’s extremely disappointing we’ve had to adjust the budget,” MacLeod said. “Like many construction projects across the country, we’re facing major supply chain issues and materials are more expensive and that means the overall budget will be more than we had anticipated.

“When the original budget was set, we couldn’t have predicted the world we’re living in today with COVID-19 and the Ukraine-Russia war. We know that our community is also feeling the pain of rising prices so we’ve worked hard to mimimise the impact on Taranaki ratepayers and the Yarrow Stadium targeted rate is not changing.

“We’ve secured an extra funding of NZ$10m from the Government which has limited the impact on ratepayers, and we have to once again thank the Government for stepping up. The funding arrangement is a fantastic outcome for our region and more than we could have hoped for.”

The East Stand will feature a “double-sided” design, allowing it to be used by those watching the main pitch or the sports field behind it. It will also feature three hospitality spaces and will have the ability to add temporary seating for big events.

Image: Taranaki Regional Council