Eden Park wants public backing to host six concerts a year

Author
Newstalk ZB / Michael Neilson, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 12 Dec 2019, 10:53AM
Eden Park wants to hold six concerts a year, but some of the neighbours are not happy. Photo / Getty

Eden Park wants public backing to host six concerts a year

Author
Newstalk ZB / Michael Neilson, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 12 Dec 2019, 10:53AM

Eden Park is seeking public support in its bid for blanket approval to hold up to six concerts a year.

Currently the stadium is entitled to hold the concerts, but must apply for a resource consent on each occasion, which proved costly, time-consuming and not practicable for music promoters, Eden Park Trust CEO Nick Sautner said.

This made "all but the most everyday sports events unaffordable".

The process led to the abandonment last year of a proposed charity concert featuring Phil Collins.

The Trust was proposing to invest "significant amounts" in an acoustic barrier and other measures to minimise potential impacts on neighbours, Sautner said.

Research by Insight Economics showed the concerts could generate up to an additional $24.8m in regional GDP each year, Sautner said, along with hundreds of jobs.

Before applying for the blanket consent the Trust said it would engage with the Community Liaison Group, which included residents, Auckland Council and police
representatives.

It would also consult neighbours and local businesses.

Mark Donnelly, who heads the Eden Park Neighbours' Association (EPNA), said the park was not suitable for concerts, which, he said, have been declined multiple times in the past.

"No one moved in next to a concert venue."

The noise barrier was meant to be installed back in 2012 regarding the East stand conditions, and had nothing to do with concerts, he said.

Comparisons to other stadiums were "flawed", with residents living much further back than both Western Springs and Mt Smart, he said.

If the trust gets blanket approval for six concerts, it will be in direct competition with Auckland Council's events arm Regional Facilities Auckland, which stages most big outdoor concerts at Mt Smart Stadium and Western Springs.

"Eden Park would just cannibalise the income that currently goes to ratepayers," Donnelly said.

Last year, Auckland Council provided a $63 million rescue package to Eden Park, including taking over a $40m loan and providing nearly $10m for urgent upgrades and maintenance, including new turf.

A report by EY this year painted a dire picture for the city's premier stadium, saying it could run up losses of $80m over the next 10 years.

Nicholas Albrecht, who chairs Auckland Cricket and a member of the Eden Park Trust, previously said Auckland Cricket supported the strategy of applying to stage up to six concerts in a year.

"This will help to make Eden Park financially sustainable. Auckland Cricket has rights under the Eden Park Trust Act and Eden Park has been the home of the Auckland Cricket Association since 1912," he said.

The Trust was asking for the consent application to be publicly notified, so the public could have their say.

If accepted, submissions on the application could likely be made in late January.