Stadium Southland might be down but it’s certainly not out – their sporting comrades are making sure of that.
With the world-class facility destroyed following a heavy snowfall on Saturday, Stadium Southland’s 10 permanent staff have relocated to the adjacent SBS Sports House, which already accommodates several sporting organisations, including Sport Southland.
General manager Nigel Skelt said the support received had been “fantastic”.
“It has always felt like a family here and, when challenging times hit like the one we are facing now, that’s when you rely on family the most,” he said.
“It might be temporary, but this will be our home as we rebuild Stadium Southland and reclaim our status as New Zealand’s best multi-purpose indoor facility.”
Sport Southland chief executive Richard Hoskin said sporting groups were united in their approach to the future and eager to continue delivering their respective services to the community.
“We are back up and operational and, within reason, it’s business as usual,” he said.
“While the event itself has been devastating for many codes, there has been a real commitment to ensuring disruption is keep to a minimum and that’s commendable.”
Basketball Southland and Volleyball Southland have also found a new base at SBS Sports House with Academy Southland moving into Sport Southland’s offices in the interim.
The reception space will feature a Sport Southland and Stadium Southland presence, with contact numbers for both organisations remaining the same. Public access is available beside the playground area.
“Our staff are working tirelessly on rescheduling existing bookings for the stadium this week – but we are determined it will be business as usual as soon as possible,” Skelt said.
The aim was to utilise the ILT Velodrome, which emerged unscathed, for as many events as possible, with bookings available from next week.
“Our focus is on ensuring this remains the integral hub of our community – it has been for the past decade and will continue to be into the future,” Skelt said.
Cycling Southland chief executive Nick Jeffrey said he was confident the velodrome would adequately fill the void created where possible.
“It’s a world-class facility and the reality is we’re all going to have to look at the most efficient and strategic use of it,” he said.
Whether sporting, recreational or community-focused, all potential users would need to work together with a degree of flexibility in the future.
“As a province, we are fortunate to have a variety of facilities at our disposal and I’m sure we will see them well-utilised as we eagerly anticipate the completion of our new Stadium Southland,” Jeffrey said.