2008 consultation on Trafalgar Park

In spring 2008 Council proposed an amendment to the 2006 Long-term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) to upgrade Trafalgar Park. This page explains the original proposal

Decision made on Trafalgar Park

Read the decision made by Council on 23 October.

Statement of Proposal to Upgrade Trafalgar Park - Summary of Proposal

Nelson City Council proposes to upgrade the facilities at Trafalgar Park at an estimated cost of $7 million in order to enable high attendance events including major rugby matches to be held there. Work is planned to begin after July 2009.

Statement of Proposal to amend the 2006-16 Long-term Council Community Plan

The proposed upgrade of Trafalgar Park facilities is a significant project. This statement of proposal is to draw residents’ attention to a significant change to what had previously been planned by Nelson City Council. So it can proceed, the community facilities section of the previous 2006 LTCCP has to be amended following consultation with the community, as required by the Local Government Act 2002. Subsequent changes to Council finances will be included in the 2009 LTCCP, which becomes operative from 1 July 2009 and replaces the 2006 LTCCP.

$800,000 was included in Council’s 2008/09 Annual Plan to cover the planning costs for the upgrade in the current financial year.

Proposed Development of Trafalgar Park

Details of the proposal

The Nelson City Council’s Trafalgar Park development proposal includes:

  • An estimated construction cost of approximately $7,000,000.
  • Upgrade the playing surface by raising the level of the pitch and installing a sand carpet base with slit drains.
  • Provide television-standard pitch lighting (1200 – 1500 lux) and spectator amenity / safety lighting for night games.
  • Remove the cycling and athletics tracks to allow space for a more intimate ground.  Replacement of these two facilities is not included within this project proposal.
  • Demolish the east stand.
  • Create new spectator entrances with improved turnstiles and ticket offices.
  • Improve permanent toilet facilities.
  • Install a new electronic scoreboard.
  • Create a new recreation park at the northwest corner of the site with easy access to walkways and cycleways.
  • Remove the existing ground keeper’s compound.
  • Increase on-site car parks.
  • Remodel the Trafalgar Street frontage with see-through balustrades and landscaping including large trees.
  • Move the ground west towards the existing new stands.
  • Retain the existing west covered stands and pavilion.
  • Remodel the northern embankment to accommodate 7,500 spectators.
  • Use the existing 3,000 TDC temporary seats.
  • In regards to meeting RWC requirements Council intends bringing in an additional 7,000 temporary seats for major events as required – making a total of 6,000 for the east of the field and 4,000 to the south.

Note: No additional permanent seating structures are included in this proposal.

Diagrams of the proposal are attached.

Reasons for the proposal

This option has been chosen because it will allow large-scale events to be held but will not limit future development occurring.  Event needs will be met with temporary facilities hired for specific occasions.  No expensive long-term permanent structures that could limit or obstruct future development would be built as a result of this proposal.  The old east grandstand will be removed to allow for up to 6,000 temporary seats to be hired.  Opportunities for future partnership arrangements for joint development along the Trafalgar Street frontage still remain.  The estimated cost of the proposed option is approximately $7 million compared to $20 million for an alternative option.  Neither of these options would provide permanent seating on the Trafalgar Street side of the ground.

Consideration of alternative development options

The Council considered a range of development options for the future of Trafalgar Park – all options, apart from option 1 which is a “do nothing” option would be funded by loan , the cost of the loan would be determined when the funds are borrowed, but is expected to be 8% per annum.

Option 1.  Consideration was given to leaving the park as it was and not developing it further at this time.  The disadvantages of this option include Trafalgar Park not being capable of hosting major rugby events. There would be no new costs for this option and Council would not spend the $800,000 set aside for the planning costs in 2008/09.

Option 2.  Council considered upgrading the playing surface for local and some representative fixtures by raising the ground level and reconstructing the field on a sand carpet with a slot drainage system at an estimated cost of $2m. The cycling track would be removed.

The disadvantages of this option are that the Park would not have met the 20,000 capacity requirements for major rugby events.  Nelson would still lack a quality outdoor events facility and this would decrease the potential opportunities for economic benefit for the region.  The appearance of the entrance to the City would not be enhanced.  This option would only require $200,000 of the $800,000 provided for in 2008/09 for the planning costs of this project.

Option 3.  This included the work included in Option 4 as well as moving the field to the north and west and constructing additional permanent seating for 3,500 at an approximate cost of $20 million. The disadvantage of this option is the $13 million additional cost compared to the preferred Option 4.

Option 4.  This is the Council’s preferred development option and the option on which the Nelson/Tasman Regional Funding Forum based its recommendations for a funding split for the Nelson and Tasman Councils.  This option meets the 20,000 capacity requirements for major rugby events by enabling the provision of temporary facilities yet still enables the development of permanent facilities in future.  It is described in ‘Details of the Proposal’ above.

Costs of each option

Costs of each option
  Option 1- 'do nothing' Option 2- $2 mil Option 3- $20 mil Option 4- $7 mil
Loan costs (interest and principle)
Maintenance  costs
Impact on rates per annum - including water rates
Impact on rates per annum - excluding water rates

Notes on the costings:

  1. The estimates for the above work are based on the best information Council has available when developing this proposal.  The final costs may vary once the detailed design and preparation work has been completed and contracts are let for the work.
  2. To assist ratepayers understand the impact on their rates of the various options the impact in percentage terms is included for both “rates including water rates” and rates “excluding water rates”.  Council usually expresses changes in rates including water rates as these are defined in legislation as being a rate.  However residents are invoiced for water rates separately from general rates and therefore the impact of these proposals on only the “rates invoice” excluding water rates
  3. The increases in rates arising from this proposal are increases on the 2008/09 annual plan, not the 2006 LTCCP.
  4. Depreciation is for the new assets which would be built for each of the options.  E.g. the assets for proposed option 4 are set out below:
Sand based turf $700,000 over 40 yrs
Ground drainage $700,000 over 80 yrs
Toilets/buildings $1,600,000 over 50 yrs
Sports and general lighting $1,800,000 over 25 yrs
Scoreboard $100,000 over 15 yrs
Embankment $700,000 over 80 yrs

There will be ongoing additional maintenance costs depending on option, for example option 4 will require an additional $40,000 per annum for the sand carpet and drainage system and $30,000 for general maintenance including the additional toilets.


Financial considerations

The preliminary estimated cost of the development as proposed is $7 million.  The Nelson/Tasman Regional Funding Forum has recommended to both the Nelson City Council and the Tasman District Council that the project is a regional facility and should be funded by both Councils, together with a third party representing the users of the park.  It is usual with the development of recreational facilities that users contribute at least 20% of the development costs.

In this case funding from a third party might not be forthcoming and Tasman District Council has deferred its decision until its 2009 LTCCP process.  In order to make a decision to meet the time requirements for placing a bid to host a possible game for the forthcoming Rugby World Cup in 2011 Nelson City Council might have to consider funding the total costs at this time with no guarantee of support from Tasman ratepayers or a third party representing facility users.

Social and cultural effects

Traditionally, large events have added much to the character and economy of Nelson.  Older Nelsonians remember the early days of celebrating the New Year at the Central Post Office.  Many remember when Peter Snell ran at Trafalgar Park on grass.  Super 12 Games were a highlight.  There is still excitement over Super 14, and Kiri Te Kanawa singing at the 2008 Opera in the Park will long be remembered. It is considered an important part of a community’s identity to have a high quality outdoor venue for such events.

A disadvantage of this proposal is the removal of the cycling track, a venue for competition and a training ground for young cyclists.

Tangata whenua ō Whakatu are to be consulted to ensure any cultural issues are taken into account.

Environmental effects

Wherever possible environmental features will be built into the Park.  Water for toilet flushing will be collected from rain water, the latest methods for heating showers will be considered.  Run-off from carparks will be filtered through rain gardens where practicable and spectators will be encouraged to arrive and leave by public transport.

Economic effects

Events potentially bring economic benefits, particularly those that draw visitors from outside the region.  Nelson has been missing out on this activity in recent years and the development of Trafalgar Park will draw more visitors and encourage Nelsonians to spend on events held locally, rather than having to travel outside the region.

The cost of the entire $7 million capital expenditure is $735,000 per annum which will increase rates by approximately 2.03% including water rates and or 2.64% excluding water rates  This is considered affordable by the Council and will not impact on other planned projects in the 2006 LTCCP.

Proposed amendment to the 2006 LTCCP

Council consulted on a proposed upgrade of facilities at Trafalgar Park in 2005 on the basis that the Tasman District Council and Tasman Rugby Union would contribute funding.  This funding did not eventuate as the Tasman Rugby Union were not in a financial position to contribute and the Tasman District Council decided that it would purchase temporary seating that could be used not only at Trafalgar Park but elsewhere in the Nelson/Tasman Region. The amendment proposed for the 2006 LTCCP is to include the following text on page 162 of volume 1:

Delete:  the following sentence in the section on Trafalgar Park   “Council has decided to contribute $1.564 million, with Tasman District Council expected to contribute $0.635 million and Tasman Rugby Union $0.870 million”

And Replace with: “Council developed new stands on the west side of Trafalgar Park costing $1.56 million”.

Page 168 of the 2006 LTCCP will also be amended:

Delete: The final two sentences of the first paragraph under the heading h. Regional facilities, reading “Nelson residents were recently consulted on a proposed upgrade of the rugby facilities at Trafalgar Park. Subject to Tasman District Council finance, the work will proceed during the 2006/07 financial year.

And replace with: “In late 2005 Nelson residents were consulted on a proposed upgrade of the facilities at Trafalgar Park, following which $1.56 million was spent on developing the grandstands.   Following further consideration and consultation in 2008 Council has decided to spend up to $7 million on a facilities upgrade at Trafalgar Park to enable it to be used for high attendance events including major rugby matches. Work on the upgrade is planned to begin after 1 July 2009.  The 2009 LTCCP will reflect this decision.  The amount may be lower if TDC and sponsorship funding is obtained.”

The performance measure for the project will be development of the grounds on time and within budget. 

Period for submissions

An amendment to the LTCCP would normally require a separate published summary of the proposal, however given the short length of this amendment no summary is considered necessary. Submissions in response to this Statement of Proposal were invited through 13 October, but have now closed.

Additional information

How does Trafalgar Park fit with other projects?

When discussing the development of Trafalgar Park, it is useful to put the proposal in context with the other large projects that are included in the 2006 – 2016 LTCCP. While many of these projects are still in the early planning stages, the following gives an idea of the possible costs associated with them.

  • Maitai pipeline (duplicate) - $12.3 million
  • Performing Arts and Conference Centre - $30 million (not yet approved) with additional funding for a convention centre.
  • Saxton Field Stadium – $12.5 million
  • Wetlands – $2.45 million
  • Regional Land Transport Strategy – too early to say but the initial Corridor study had included $22 million (of which some was government funding)
  • Saxton Field Development – including athletics track, cricket field, cricket/soccer/athletics pavilion up to $4 million
  • Upgrade to Civic House – $1 million (currently being reviewed)

Comparison of potential outcomes across options

Comparison of potential outcomes across options
Option 1- $0
Option 2- $2m
Option 3- $20m
Option 4- $7m
Cycletrack retained
Cricket wicket retained
Lights for night games and spectator security
Support hosting regional rugby events
Support Super 14 rugby games
Support RWC guidelines for hosting a team
Support RWC guidelines for hosting a game
Improved playing field
Improved pavilion and player facilities
Embankment remodelled
More permanent seating
Sufficient permanent seating for major events
Entrance ways and ticketing improved
Electronic scoreboard
More permanent toilets
Major additional cost
Enhance the city's entrance


For more information, contact Manager Community Projects, +64 3 546 0240.