The Influencers: Leeann Watson
The council’s decision to recommend to Government that the Multi-Use Arena be funded as the lion-share of the Capital Acceleration Fund allocation caused comment around priorities for Christchurch in the regeneration of the city.
However, this is not an example of sacrificing one priority in favour of another. The new arena is a vital piece of public infrastructure. It is not just a rugby stadium. While it will host matches, it is so much more – it’s a venue capable of hosting massive events that will draw people from afar to the city.
Over the last year we have seen numerous international artists play all over New Zealand and the cities that host them reap massive economic benefits. Right now, Christchurch is missing out.
The restaurants and bars that will be packed to the brim hosting concerts and international sporting events will be supplied by our local food and beverage producers and the staff working in those venues and the hotels will be locals.
When we’re debating whether Christchurch should have a Multi-Use Arena, we need to think beyond it being just a rugby stadium and understand the economic and social benefits it will bring everybody in our city.
I congratulate the council for the decision to both fund the stadium from the Government’s Capital Acceleration Fund, and to bring forward their own contribution in the Long-Term Plan. Now we have to get on with it and build this great community facility.