Eden Park has been forced to withdraw from holding the “Million Babies” LifePod Appeal concert.
The Eden Park Trust announced this afternoon that due to time constraints and the prospect of substantial Environment Court costs, it has been forced to cancel the concert, planned for Waitangi Day.
At the start of the week, the trust‘s lawyers advised that the process to obtain a consent for the concert was likely to stretch beyond October and cost in excess of $750,000, not including the trust‘s legal costs.
Trustees then met and concluded that it was not viable for the stadium to continue with its application due to the likely costs and timeframe for court proceedings.
The trust hoped it could work with the minority who objected to reach an agreement for this one-off worthy event. This would have avoided the Environment Court process but, unfortunately, that was not to be the case.
Chief Executive Nick Sautner said, “Although we respect the process in place, to bring events like concerts to our stadium we also have to work in with promoters‘ lead times which include confirming the venue as well as securing ticket on-sale dates.”
“Unfortunately this time it was unworkable but we now look to the future to ensure this half a billion dollar asset can host unique and memorable events for the city.”
Plans for the Live Aid-style concert were announced by Sir Ray Avery, a former New Zealander of the Year, in the hopes of raising money in an effort to help save babies around the world.
Sir Ray Avery at the foundation launch at Eden Park, with one of the LifePod baby incubators. Photo / Greg Bowker facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit
Avery wants to build enough LifePod incubators to save a million babies and the concert was the first step in raising the $4 million needed to make 2000 pods.
Hundreds of people made submissions on whether the concert should be allowed to go ahead, with some local residents posting strong criticism, most notably former Prime Minister Helen Clark.
The trust‘s application for the Million Babies event, lodged on June 6, said noise levels during the concert, between 7pm and 10.30pm on Waitangi Day, could exceed 75 decibels for about 30 houses west of Sandringham Rd and 80 decibels for another small group of houses near the northwest corner of the park.
Consultation the community included making its environmental planners, traffic, acoustic and lighting specialists available to address any concerns as well as bringing locals together through stadium tours, a ‘Friday Family Fish ‘n‘ Chips‘ evening and other events to inspire open conversation and share the recent independent research.
Eden Park chief executive Nick Sautner holds his newborn baby at the Sir Ray Avery Foundation launch at Eden Park, Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit
Three-quarters of submissions to the resource consent process supported the LifePod Appeal concert. Ninety-one per cent of Aucklanders and 87 per cent of people living nearby also supported it.
The trust said it was unsurprising that the future usage of the stadium has evoked some emotion, however it was disappointed to see personal attacks play out in the public domain.
“We are thrilled the majority of our neighbours supported this concert. Independent research tells us that 83 per cent of locals are in favour of six concerts as a permitted activity.
“We will continue to consult them closely and reiterate that we have heard their voices and we will keep exploring greater utilisation to bring new content to New Zealand‘s national stadium for them and our wider community.”
Auckland Council‘s Unitary Plan provides for up to six concerts in a 12-month period at Eden Park as a “discretionary activity”.
Discretionary activities require resource consent for each individual activity.
This is the first time since the introduction of the Unitary Plan that the Eden Park Trust has tested the framework.
It has become clear that it is impossible to practically give effect in a timely or affordable manner to these Unitary Plan provisions, the trust statement said.
The trust will now consider its options to ensure it can deliver the best possible entertainment offering, whilst achieving financial sustainability, and seek opportunities to deliver that to our wider community in ways that are sensitive to the views of our local neighbourhood.