Christchurch, New Zealand's main South Island city, is the scheduled host city for the 1974 Commonwealth Games, but a newly-elected Labour City Council there has decided to draw up changes of venues.
Christchurch, New Zealand's main South Island city, is the scheduled host city for the 1974 Commonwealth Games, but a newly-elected Labour City Council there has decided to draw up changes of venues. The independent Games Organising Committee, headed by Mr. Ronald Scott, had fully approved and endorsed the former City Council's plans and proposed expenditure. Now it has asked the new council for prompt and precise details to save the Games being re-scheduled to another city.... possibly Auckland, or Melbourne in Australia. The new plans for Christchurch could mean an increase of nearly four million NZ dollars (GBP2 million sterling) over the original estimates. Government approval to raise this extra amount is still uncertain.
Both the Organising Committee and the former Conservative city administration had favoured building a swimming stadium apart from the main venue for track and field events. The new council, however, wants a single sports complex, including a pool, to be built at Queen Elizabeth II Park in a remote eastern suburb. Criticism of this plan has been wide-spread among sporting organisations, and the Chairman of the New Zealand Olympic and British Commonwealth Games Association, Mr. Lance Cross, has warned against panic. The organising committee fears that any changes in plan may prevent them from fulfilling their host city obligations.
Construction work on the original swimming pool venue has come to a standstill, and a group of Christchurch ratepayers is at present organising a petition which seeks to force the council to hold a poll on the issue. If this happens, the council may not have sufficient time in which to???legally change the venues.
This coverage was supplied for Visnews by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation.
SYNOPSIS: Christchurch... the main city of New Zealand's South Island.... is considered by many tourists one of the most English cities in the British Commonwealth. This normally placid community has been rocked by a political battle over sports, during recent weeks. Christchurch is the scheduled host city for the 1974 Commonwealth Games, but a newly-selected Labour city council wants to change planned venues.
The independent organising committee had fully approved the former council's plans and expenditure proposals and is now concerned it many not be able to fulfill its obligations as host if the new council doesn't make up its mind by December.
The new proposals could mean an increases of nearly four million NZ dollars over original estimates, and government approval to raise this is still uncertain.
Additions to a separate swimming stadium, favoured by both the organising committee and former conservative council have temporarily halted, as the new administration wants a complex, complete with pool and athletic facilities, to be erected in a more remote eastern suburb at the Queen Elizabeth II Park. The original plan was for athletics, track and field events, and ceremonies to be held at Lancaster Park... where several world records have been broken in the past. Sporting organisations are widespread in their objections to any change from this.
This is the University of Canterbury campus at Ilam where athletes attending the Games are to be housed. It's modern, spacious, and only three miles from the city centre. Meanwhile a group of Christchurch residents is organising a petition to force the new council to hold a poll on the Games issue. If this happens the council may not have sufficient time to legally change the venues.