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Features

Yarrow Stadium issues continue as roof installation delayed

The Taranaki Regional Council has announced that delays to Yarrow Stadium’s construction project will mean that its West Stand roof will not be completed until later in the year, with no covered seating to be available to fans during 2022.

The council cited the winter weather in New Zealand as the reason for the delay, with the construction crew unable to complete this part of the project safely.

The new hybrid turf will be ready when the Yarrows Taranaki Bulls play at the facility on September 3 but the roof – one of the main features of the new-look stadium – will not.

Yarrow Stadium, which is located in the city of New Plymouth, suffered significant damage during the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake, leaving 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 East Stand is projected to open in 2024. The West Stand is also being repaired and had been due to be reopened in September, but this will no longer be the case.

Mike Nield, director of corporate services at the council, said: “The team has worked very hard to get the roof installed in time for this season’s games but unfortunately the weather has not played ball. The project team had allowed for 25 rain days in the programme and the number of rain delay days to the project has been over double this.

“It’s disappointing but the weather is out of our control so we’re asking fans to be prepared for rain or shine. We may be the sunshine capital of Aotearoa but it’s still winter so please wrap up warm or bring a raincoat when you come along to cheer on the Bulls.”

Nield said the delay in completing the new roof would not impact on the budget for repairing the West Stand, which has been earthquake-strengthened.

The council announced last month that the budget for the revamp of the stadium is set to rise to NZ$70m (£36m/€43m/$44m) due to cost increases and supply chain issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical turmoil.

The original budget had been set at NZ$50m but the council is now anticipating a 40% increase.

Yarrow Stadium served as a home venue for the Super Rugby’s Chiefs prior to the earthquake. Other improvements will include the new hybrid turf and replacing the old lights with a brighter, more eco-friendly LED system.

The council, which owns the venue through the Taranaki Stadium Trust, last month revealed an artist’s impression of the redesigned East Stand (pictured).

Image: Taranaki Regional Council