© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Lancaster Park on its final crusade

Mitchell Redman

The demolition process began in March, and remains on track to be complete by December.

Lee Butcher, Project Director for the Christchurch City Council gives an update on the Lancaster Park demolition.

Only skeletons remain of what were once the Paul Kelly and Deans Stand at Lancaster Park.

The demolition is the largest in New Zealand history, surpassing the Hotel Grand Chancellor project, which was more than three times smaller than this job.

Half of the stadium's materials have been removed, leaving 65,000 tonnes of concrete, and 3000 tones of reinforcement steel yet to come down.

Recycling has been a strong focus for contractors during the demolition process, setting an audacious goal of finishing the process with only 2% waste. 

Concrete has been transported to a new housing development in Rangiora as a way to stabilise the ground, while other materials have been used at the new Nga Puna Wai sports hub and for old seats at Ruapuna Speedway.

Deans Stand Demolition
Demolition work continues on the Deans Stand, at Lancaster Park. Mitch Redman

With only three months to go, Christchurch City Council Project Director, Lee Butcher, said that they are currently tracking at 1.7-1.8% waste, which is something to be proud of. 

Butcher said that the demolition has been a "brilliant project", that all involved have "really enjoyed". 

12 million dollars was set aside for the demolition but, according to Butcher, they are likely to finish the project under-budget.

Nearby residents and businesses have been really "tolerant and patient" through the process, and Butcher said he's looking forward to getting the "big, grey, concrete eye-sore" out of their backyards.

Lee Butcher
Project Director for the Christchurch City Council, Lee Butcher Mitch Redman

Once the foundations are looked into, and leftover materials are removed by January, plans for the future use of the land will be confirmed.

A 'spatial plan' was released by the city council in July, which proposed sports fields, a basketball court, a playground, and other sport-related activities for the space. 

Council Head of Parks, Andrew Rutledge said the aim is to get the new park open as soon as possible, ensuring sport returns to this historic Canterbury ground.