Eden Park granted resource consent for concerts

Author
Bernard Orsman, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 16 Jan 2021, 9:42AM
Photo / File
Photo / File

Eden Park granted resource consent for concerts

Author
Bernard Orsman, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 16 Jan 2021, 9:42AM

Eden Park has won a long-running battle to hold concerts at the park after a panel of independent commissioners granted resource consent for up to six concerts a year.

The concerts can take place on weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays preceding a public holiday and public holidays, subject to restrictions on frequency, duration and timing.

Eden Park chief executive Nick Saunter was delighted with the decision, saying the park had artists ready to announce shows.

"However, we are required to wait until the appeal window is closed to share details," he said.

Top live act Six60 has previously indicated a desire to play at Eden Park after sellout events at Western Springs.

The public hearings were held late last year and the three independent commissioners considered evidence from the Eden Park Trust and submitters, which included the expert assessments of technical specialists, before making their decision.

They have concluded the identified adverse effects can be adequately avoided or mitigated, if conducted in accordance with detailed conditions of consent.

Those detailed conditions include restrictions on noise and lighting, traffic plans, and the expansion of a Community Liaison Group to ensure ongoing discussion and monitoring.

A large number of submissions were received on the application, of which 2966 were in support and 180 in opposition.

The application for resource consent now enters a phase where parties have until February 5 (15 working days) to file any appeal against the decision to the Environment Court.

Saunter said the park received extensive support for its application and thanked the community, businesses, sporting organisations and the entertainment industry for ensuring their voices were heard.

The decision to grant approval meant Eden Park did not have to apply for a separate resource consent for individual concerts, which proved to be cost-prohibitive and time-consuming in 2018. It allowed shows to be booked, scheduled and confirmed years in advance, he said.

Eden Park has been granted resource consent to hold six concerts a year. Photo / File

Eden Park Trust chairman Doug McKay said he had not had a chance to read the decision, which has conditions.

"I do want to read through the detail before we celebrate or whatever. On the surface, it looks like a good result for the park," McKay said.

Mayor Phil Goff said the Unitary Plan had approved six concerts a year and the commisioners had confirmed that.

"It will be important for Eden Park and council to co-operate closely on holding concerts to ensure the best outcome for Auckland," Goff said.

The council owns Mt Smart Stadium and Western Springs, where big outdoor concerts have been held. Eden Park is not council-owned but in 2019 received a $63 million bailout from council that included a $9.8m no-srings grant.

Goff said the decision by the commissioners did not require council approval but would be accepted by most councillors.

Mark Donnelly, president of the Eden Park Neighbours' Association, said the group expected the decision given what it saw from the panel during the hearing, and the council's regulatory approach to Eden Park in relation to residential amenity and traffic congestion.

"If this stands, we'll see pressure to move rugby and cricket games in the peak February and March concert season. And cricket have effectively given up the outer oval, given the weeks of pack in and out.

"The winners will be the promoters who can drive down their hire costs, and the losers are not just locals impacted by huge noise levels, but ratepayers losing revenue from council venues, and the general commuting public who will also be impacted," Donnelly said.

He said the association had only just seen the decision and would go through it in more
detail in the coming weeks before deciding whether to appeal.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark, who lives near the stadium, has been a prominent and vocal critic of plans to host concerts there.

However, Eden Park Residents Association's Shona Tagg welcomed the decision, saying it was a no-brainer.

She said any local who missed out on tickets could enjoy concerts from their back yard.

And if it's a concert they don't like - it's only six nights a year - they can just visit friends outside the area, Tagg said.

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said after many false starts and huge expense from minority naysayers, Eden Park could go ahead and draw in tens of thousands of visitors and wean itself away from needing council handouts.

Auckland councillor Daniel Newman also welcomed the decision, saying it would help to restore Auckland as a premier destination for national and international artists.

"I am hopeful that the Eden Park Trust board can use this consent to generate further revenue to improve its financial bottom line and I am confident that New Zealanders will see Eden Park as a great place to enjoy concerts just as it is already a great place for sport, conferences and community development," Newman said.