Engineers and assessors continue to evaluate flood damage and the scale of repairs needed at Western Springs stadium following Auckland Anniversary weekend’s storm and subsequent Cyclone Gabrielle severe weather events.
While this work is underway, the main stadium area at Western Springs will be closed for general event access for at least three months. However, The Outer Fields at Western Springs are largely unaffected and scheduled events and activities in this area, including My Chemical Romance and Pasifika, are able to go ahead.
Following professional advice, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s operations team has determined that large portions of the main stadium area are unsafe due to subsidence, ground movements and/or contamination. The flood waters have also extensively damaged the venue’s power supply infrastructure.
Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Director of Auckland Stadiums, James Parkinson, says the decision to close the main part of the stadium for general event access means that Western Springs is unable to host speedway events for the balance of the season, and that Ponsonby Rugby Club will not be able to use their clubroom facilities and will only have limited access to playing facilities within the main stadium.
"The assessments so far, and ongoing uncertainty around underlying causes for some of the damaged areas of the site means that, for health and safety reasons, we have had to make the difficult decision to suspend general access to the main stadium site,” he says.
Damages to the site include contaminated floodwaters flowing through the main building and the power supply building, substantial ground movement, and slips across the site.
Main building, including Ponsonby Rugby Club clubrooms
The building had more than 600mm of contaminated floodwater flow through it, leaving it uninhabitable and unusable.
The primary power feed for Western Springs was extensively flooded and the power to the main stadium area has been damaged beyond repair. The power supply infrastructure will need to be fully replaced, which will require looking at options for reinstalling it outside of the floodplain.
There have been a number of slips in various locations and significant ground movement within the main stadium, including the carpark area. All of these affected areas have been declared unsafe until final engineering and geotechnical reports have been completed.
James Parkinson says the operations team is doing everything they can to get more certainty around the repairs needed and timings for reopening.
“We know this is an extremely challenging situation for Western Springs Speedway and for Ponsonby Rugby Club. We are working closely with both organisations recognising that the situation is causing uncertainty and concern.
“We appreciate their understanding while we undertake further engineering assessments and measures to ensure the safe operations of our main stadium area, and to replace the power feed and secure it against future events of this nature.”