Court of Appeal dimisses allegations against Dunedin City Council

Dunedin’s new rugby stadium will go ahead despite legal action taken by Stop the Stadium Society that raised concerns on how the council would fund the multi-million dollar development.

The society had its appeal dismissed by the Court of Appeal today and costs have been awarded to the Dunedin City Council.

A local government bylaw, section 97 (2), was at the heart of the dispute.

The society argued that the decision to build a replacement for Carisbrook would place significant pressure on the council to fund the project.

It also said the cost to the council had increased since it was orginally specified and therefore the council had breached the bylaw by not consulting on the additional expenditure.

The society had its previous applications to the High Court dismissed on April 17 that included an application for a judicial review, a declaration that the decision to proceed had breached the bylaw, an injunction to stop the council from signing a construction contract for the stadium and an order to quash the decision to proceed.

The 2007 long-term plan estimated the cost of the development within the range of $180 - $195 million (excluding GST) of which the council proposed to commit around $91.3 million.

The draft 2009 long-term plan recorded that on February 9 2009, the council passed a resolution to commit to the stadium project that was now valued at $198 million.

The draft plan showed the council had reduced its funding to $85 million, which was in fact incorrect, the cost to the council has been estimated at around $99 million.

The Otago Regional Council increased its funding by $100,000 to $37.5 million.

The University of Otago has honoured its committed of $10 million, the Community Trust reduced its commitment by $3 million to $7 million and private sector funding remained the same at $45.4 million.

The government has also committed $15 million to the development, as long as the stadium is finished in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

An additional $6.4 million was committed for capital maintenance.

The Court of Appeal ruled that despite the fact the cost of the stadium had increased, the council's commitment has not significantly altered on its 2008 projection and the cost to the ratepayer remains the same at $66 per year for a 22 year period.

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