I've pretty much given up trying to follow the convoluted saga of the Indoor Sports Centre. The initial vision was to locate it above the Westpac Stadium concourse: a great use of space and a sensible location. Then in February last year the council decided it would be too expensive, so it would have to go on Cobham Park in Kilbirnie: a terrible location for a regional stadium, but not so bad for a facility aimed at local schools. But in August they changed their minds again, and wanted to put it at Harbour Quays, just across the road from the original site. Almost immediately, CentrePort said "Not so fast, we're still using that site", but reports a few months later sounded very positive and just before Christmas, it sounded like a done deal. Then last week, the council decided to go back to Kilbirnie, citing "more complex site issues [at Harbour Quays] that would have been expensive to resolve and delayed construction". Despite a leaked report about traffic problems with the Kilbirnie site, and Cr Andy Foster calling the decision "mad" and a "terrible idea", that sounded like a final decision.
But is anything "final" when it comes to this farce? According to today's Wellingtonian, "the decision does not necessarily rule out the regional stadium also being built on port land within the next 10 years". The council have apparently placed a ten-year moratorium on use of the port land, and the Mayor maintains that it's the best site for some sort of "multi-use facility", which the Wellingtonian's editor interprets as possibly "an 8000 to 10,000 seat stadium that could host indoor sports games and concerts". That may end up being the best result overall: a community-oriented facility at Kilbirnie serving the schools and clubs of the eastern suburbs, and a world-class indoor facility near the city and transport hub. But I wouldn't hold my breath!
One thing remains unresolved. While the Capital Times article refers to the indoor sports centre as intended "to replace the sports facilities in Shed One and Six on the waterfront", I don't think that's ever been the plan, as neither Kilbirnie nor the northern end of Harbour Quays are convenient for inner-city lunchtime sport. I've made at least two suggestions for alternative indoor sports facilities near the CBD, but perhaps if we do end up with a high-quality multi-use events centre at Harbour Quays, with twice the capacity of the TSB Arena (formerly the Queens Wharf Events Centre), perhaps that contentious old pile could end up being the CBD's recreational centre again?