Rugby Park seismic strengthening plans under way

Seismic strengthening work will be required at Rugby Park after parts of the facility have been confirmed to be earthquake prone.

As part of a thorough assessment of its buildings and facilities, in line with updated building standards introduced in 2017, Invercargill City Council commissioned several reports to look into the condition of structures at Rugby Park.

Council staff presented the findings of the assessment to the Invercargill City Charitable Trust (ICCT), which has ownership of the facility, on Friday.

Council Assistant Group Manager Leisure and Recreation Richard McWha said the reports had found the media tower and grandstand complex at Rugby Park were both earthquake prone.

“These reports provide the first, truly comprehensive view on the condition and seismic performance of the entirety of these structures at Rugby Park,” Mr McWha said.

“The results of the engineering assessments are not unexpected and the space is still able to be used by our community while we consider remedial action.”

The media tower has been found to be at Importance Level 2 (IL2), considered to be 20-25 per cent of New Building Standards (NBS), while the grandstand complex is at Importance Level 3(IL3), considered to be 15-20 per cent NBS.

“Council, alongside the ICCT, is now considering options and the approach to staging improvement works to ensure this facility is safe and to minimise the impact on planned events.

“The work will likely be staged to best fit around established rugby season fixtures where possible to avoid disruption, and will focus first on the media tower.”

Work is already under way on detailed design and costings for the project and Council is working with Rugby Southland to manage any potential impacts.

Council allocated $4.9 million in its Long-term Plan 2021-2031 for Rugby Park seismic work and maintenance.

The ICCT, a Council-controlled organisation, took over ownership of Rugby Park in 2016.