Maze first favourite for stadium site…

The Press Association has a copy of the conclusions of a Price Waterhouse reportt on the viability of the plans to convert the Maze prison site into a sport stadium. The report was commissioned by the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Edwin Poots, a strong supporter of the Maze plan. However the report is with the Minister of Finance who is sure to give those figures a thorough going over.
Key Figures:

– first four years operation cost £37m.

– a 38,500-seat stadium

-hosting 23 major sporting and music events par

– just under 500,000 paying spectators.

It would appear to be the Maze or nothing…

  • willowfield

    nmc

    Second, you seem to know what provos think beyond what they have stated. You think propoganda site/shrine – no Republican or provo ever uttered the words.

    Hey, you’re right … the Provos haven’t said they wanted a shrine, therefore the H Block Museum won’t be a shrine. It’s as simple as that.

    Why would there be adequate infrastructure going to an empty prison?

    So that people could get to it?

    If roads are needed they have to be built they don’t appear themselves

    Obviously!

    , and at present no-one has seen the need to build roads or train lines going to an empty prison however if a stadium were built then would be the time to consider infrastructure.

    Yes, and the infrastructure planned is a new motorway exit and link road … costing £116m!

    I know Belfast can’t handle traffic, as does every other driver in Belfast. How can the Maze cope? Same way every other stadium works. People leave via a slip road onto a motorway. No problem.

    OK, so Belfast with several major roads serving it can’t cope with large volumes of traffic, yet the Maze with a single slip road could?! Right.

    If there’s an accident I would imagine that the procedure would be the same as in the centre of Belfast. The cops do what they have to do then wheel the car out of the way. No biggie. I do know that Belfast has come to a standstill a couple of times due to accidents so Belfast has nothing to crow about in that respect.

    So what you’re saying is that an accident would have the same effect at the Maze as it would in Belfast. So your point about accidents in Belfast was completely irrelevant.

    Belfast is at a critical situation traffic wise and you seem to be holding it up as an example of somewhere that CAN handle traffic. It’s laughable.

    Belfast handles tens, probably hundreds, of thousands of cars every day, especially at peak hours. Sports events won’t take place at peak hours.

    Typical arrogance. Again I know this, but these rail lines don’t go to the non-existant site so what’s the point?

    How do you know where the non-existent site is? That doesn’t make sense. Plus, the railways don’t need to go to the front door of the stadium … PEOPLE CAN WALK FROM THE STATION!

    If the rail network is to incorporate a Belfast stadium, it will have to be extended and a new station built.

    Really? Why is that?

    Again I go back to the point that you expect all these services, infrastructure and entertainment in an empty prison.

    Sorry? Why would I expect such at an empty prison?

    Once more for the slow learners – you need to start the development before roads, businesses and railway lines are put in place. Who wants to open a restaurant at the maze now? No-one the maze is empty. When there’s a stadium there, then developers will show interest.

    Don’t be ridiculous – you’re saying that when a stadium is built at the Maze there will be a city’s worth of bars, restaurants, shops, etc.? You know that won’t happen. Who, and how many people, would open up a bar or restaurant at a rural site than will only be used on 23 days during the year? What is more, Belfast already has these things – no need to create them artificially.

    Typical arrogance. Can you provide evidence of fewer people using cars, because you’re talking through your hat.

    Er, yes. Go out on the next day NI is playing and you will see loads of people walking to Windsor Park from town and elsewhere. Go to Dublin on the day of a Six Nations match and watch all the people walking to Croke Park. Go to Cardiff on the day of a Six Nations match and watch all the people walking to the Millennium Stadium, etc., etc.

    There are more cars now than ever before, and people will drive regardless because people don’t want to use public transport.

    Well, first, that’s not true as evidenced by other city centre stadia. And, secondly, in the future people will have to walk and use public transport due to environmental and economic trends. We should be planning to encourage walking and public transport: not to encourage car travel! That, in fact, is Government policy!

    So what [public transport]?

    So it is better served by public transport than the Maze ever would be!

    If there’s a stadium at the maze, public transport will be put on.

    Some public transport, but nowhere near as much as Belfast already has!

  • willowfield

    NMC (contd)

    So what difference does Belfast, (and the rest of NI) having a public transport system make?

    Because the more public transport routes, the more people can travel by public transport!

    And by extention the maze.

    No. The Maze will only have one slip road, and one B road.

    It will have access to the M1 and through it every other part of NI.

    Access via one slip road!

    Again, not too many stadiums have multiple roads and motorways serving them directly, usually you drive out onto a road, which leads you to another road and through a series of choices you can get to your destination. Easy.

    Belfast has multiple roads and motorways serving it directly, as do most cities!

    Ok, how many motorways are necessary?

    As many as possible if you want to reduce congestion (e.g. if there were only one motorway going to Belfast there would be more congestion than there currently is.)

    LOL, back to point above – the train station isn’t going to pick itself up and move itself to an empty prison now is it?

    No.

    That’s right, once again we need a stadium before we build the infrastructure

    There are no plans for a station at the stadium.

    I do realise this what is the point. The M1 doesn’t come near anywhere of use in terms of a Belfast site.

    So an upgraded M1 will not improve access to Belfast? One wonders why they are upgrading it.

    You can just tell everyone to catch a bus, and they’ll do it. The same transport is available Monday to Sunday with bus lanes to speed your journey – the politicians are begging us to use it and more and more of us AREN’T. Get your head around that will you, it might be ideal for people to catch a bus. Doesn’t mean they’ll do it, in fact all the evidence points to the fact that they won’t.

    They will do it because it means they won’t have to sit in traffic for hours before and afterwards and can have a drink beforehand and afterwards. Ever been to a match in Cardiff or Dublin?

    Where do you get your figures from? Simple equation – Belfast land is more expensive than Lisburn land, so the exact same building located in Belfast will cost more.

    For a start, you don’t need to spend £116m on additional infrastructure in Belfast. Plus, private developers are interested in a Belfast stadium so the cost will be less to the taxpayer. Plus, some of the sites in Belfast are publicly owned.

    For Belfast.

    Yes, indeed, and for NI. There will be no wider (or at least very few) economic benefits at the Maze.

    You can’t begin to hypothesise about what might happen with a Maze stadium in terms of “wider economic benefits”.

    Yes, you can. All economic studies of stadia show that they need to be built in urban locations where there is other economic infrastructure, e.g. stadia in Cardiff and Dublin and Edinburgh generate billions for the local economy.

    DEC

    Considering you’re completing missing the point and inventing arguments there’s not much point.

    I’m not aware of missing the point, and certainly I’m not “inventing arguments”.

    You’re perfectly entiled to your preference, but if the GAA is expected to provide more than 50% of ticket sales then the location has to suit them. Having the stadium in inner-city Belfast clearly does not suit their demographic.

    Well, having the stadium out at the Maze doesn’t “suit” football supporters and, more importantly, doesn’t make economic, financial or environmental sense.

  • Paul

    DM,

    “Paul – having no insight into gaelic games myself, I should then ignore the opinions of my GAA-supporting friends? People who attend games, follow teams and counties and generally are much better informed than me? Or should I just ignore them when they say they don’t care either way about a new stadium and only listen to Nicky Brennan or whoever? ”

    I certainly don’t ignore the opinion of my friends, but I am certainly able to distingusih between their own personal opinions (or relayed personal opinions of others) and the official stance of any organisation to which they belong.

    You stretch credibility trying to extrapolate your friends’ opinions to assert that the GAA does not support or need this stadium.

    Especially when
    1. the GAA president has staements on the GAA.ie website reaffirming the GAA’s support for it
    2. official GAA strategy sets a target of creating just such a 40k+ stadium in Ulster.

    And if you have ever so much as seen a photograph of an empty Casement or Clones, or googled their stand capacities, you would never again doubt that the GAA’s Ulster stadia are sub-standard, and way worse than Windsor Park.

  • willowfield

    That’s interesting Paul – even though the GAA is awash with money and we always hear about their wonderful facilities?

    Presumably the strategy has been to invest money in local club facilities rather than in the big county grounds?

  • eranu

    of the 3 ideas for the maze, 2 seem stupid. but the museum could work. its a bit of a distasteful idea to have our troubles as a tourist attraction, but museums and exhibitions about ww2 concentration camps and the nazis work in germany. i think any sort of display in a preserved H block would be very different from anything the republicans and loyalists are imagining. they would like to see their side portrayed as fighting for a just cause against ‘the bad guys’. but any sort of display is just going to present facts and figures, just like any other museum display you’ve seen. it will have details of what people in the prison actually did. there would be pictures of the people they killed, possibly family pictures with children. pictures of the horrific injuries caused by bombs, paramilitary beatings / mutilations and so on. plenty of 1970s video footage of bomb aftermaths. bits of people being swept up from the streets. video interviews with bereaved family members.
    each cell could have a display of pictures of all the people that the person in the cell killed and an audio/video presentation about all the ‘events’ the person took part in.
    i would expect most tourists would come out totally sickened. far from the romantic glorification that some people want.

    Cheerio.

  • willowfield

    That’s how it should be eranu, but we all know that it won’t.

  • Dec

    I’m not aware of missing the point, and certainly I’m not “inventing arguments”.

    The point was that good public transport or being within a short distance of the city centre does not mean that people will abandon their car and the experieence of Casement (which has good trnasport access) demonstrates that, especially when you have large numbers of non-Belfast residents going to the game. At no stage did I argue that Casement was closer to Belfast city centre than Ormeau park, an ‘argument’ you devoted 3 posts to.

    Well, having the stadium out at the Maze doesn’t “suit” football supporters and, more importantly, doesn’t make economic, financial or environmental sense.

    Well, it apparently doesn’t suit Belfast football supporters, who appear to be more equal than others on this matter. I’d further argue that it doesn’t make conceptual sense either.

  • willowfield

    The point was that good public transport or being within a short distance of the city centre does not mean that people will abandon their car and the experieence of Casement (which has good trnasport access) demonstrates that

    How can Casement demonstrate it when it’s not a short distance from the city centre?!

    Cardiff and Dublin do demonstrate it, though.

    Well, it apparently doesn’t suit Belfast football supporters, who appear to be more equal than others on this matter. I’d further argue that it doesn’t make conceptual sense either.

    No – NI football supporters from all over NI are generally opposed, as is demonstrated by the votes of various supporters’ clubs.

    I agree it doesn’t make conceptual sense.

  • Paul

    willowfield,

    “That’s interesting Paul – even though the GAA is awash with money and we always hear about their wonderful facilities?
    Presumably the strategy has been to invest money in local club facilities rather than in the big county grounds? ”

    They’re not really awash with money.
    They don’t have the sums involved to build decent class stadia in Munster, Connacht or Ulster.

    Croke Park in Leinster is the exception, and is really a mirage that masks a lack of investment and a lack of strategy elsewhere.

    As previously stated, their aim is to have one high(er) quality 40k+ stadium, at least two thirds covered and seated in the other three provinces.

    The main barriers to acheiving this are

    1. Lack of finance

    Most GAA funds come in from the bottom up.
    Loyalty is to the club first, the county second, and a very distant third for the GAA as a whole.
    The overall spend reflects this – most clubs have battled to buy and build their own grounds.

    Latterly, some County Boards have been successful in raisnig funds to upgrade County grounds. Even at this level, clubs are still key.
    The grass roots contributions, most often collected via clubs would still outweigh any central GAA grants.

    Central GAA income is restricted to sponsorship and profits returned from Croke PArk.

    Even with this minoritty of money, there is huge pressure within the gAA for this money to be channelled to the counties and the clubs, to the detriment of any strategic national development.

    2. inter-county rivalries getting in the way of deciding where these three stadia should be.

    Even if the counties could agree on where to put one new stadium in each province, inter-county pride results in each county wanting to develop a 40k stadium.

    The aim appears to be to build for capacity, with no regard for quality. Luxuries like a roof, seats and toilet facilities are dispensed with. Real parish prode politics going here.

    Problem is that they don’t have the money, so we end up with a plethora of uncovered concrete bowls that are used once or twice a year.
    Eg, I think in Munster there are now five 50k plus grounds that are used on average of once or twice a year.

    It would have been far better to build one top class 50k stadium, and a range of decent 20k ones.

    GAA top brass know the problem, but the problem is that they don’t have their hands on most of the money to be able to fix it.

    I hope you get the gist.

  • willowfield

    Thanks, Paul, that’s interesting.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Paul

    “Most GAA funds come in from the bottom up.
    Loyalty is to the club first, the county second, and a very distant third for the GAA as a whole.”

    I think this demonstrates a disconnect with the attitudes prevalent within the GAA. In the GAA, the club is king, the county team is a much-loved, passionately-supported luxury. The attitude prevalent among members is that it is through support for the local club that “the GAA as a whole” benefits. It’s the most bottom-up organisation in the world that I know of. When you look at Croke Park, and reflect that it’s a stadium paid for by a thousand club raffles and dinner dances etc, you can see how this works. But certainly the attitude of most members is that Croker is more expendable than a single club.

    “The overall spend reflects this – most clubs have battled to buy and build their own grounds.”

    An important point. The vast majority of clubs across the island own their own facilities – compare with the reliance of soccer clubs on municipal facilities. So clubs own their own land, their own pitches, clubhouses, changing rooms, training facilities, often have social clubs too. This is where so much GAA money goes – community facilities have tended to come before spectator facilities.

    For example, I remember about eight or nine years ago my own club raised a lot of money through various endeavours locally, and received a matching grant from Croke Park. With the money we completed our unfinished changing rooms/clubrooms and added a physio suite – all fantastic facilities. We bought a wee strip of land beside us which, added to a bit of our existing property which was otherwise too small to do anything useful with, we turned it into a 3/4 size all-weather training pitch. And we got a rather snazzy electric scoreboard. Other things too that escape my recollection now. But only after we did all that did we build a covered terraced stand.

    “Latterly, some County Boards have been successful in raising funds to upgrade County grounds. Even at this level, clubs are still key. The grass roots contributions, most often collected via clubs would still outweigh any central GAA grants.”

    You say this is though it’s a problem. I would contend that few in the GAA see it as such. Most people would argue that the GAA’s mission is not be build stadia. It’s to build communities.

    “Even with this minoritty of money, there is huge pressure within the gAA for this money to be channelled to the counties and the clubs, to the detriment of any strategic national development.”

    You misunderstand. What GAA people understand is that making sure the maximum amount of revenue filters down to even the smallest, most isolated club, is the absolute best “strategic national development” you could wish for.

    “inter-county rivalries getting in the way of deciding where these three stadia should be.”

    This is a fair point, though I would add that in Ulster it’s already agreed that Clones, Casement and Breffni are to be the three stadia.

    “Even if the counties could agree on where to put one new stadium in each province, inter-county pride results in each county wanting to develop a 40k stadium.”

    (I’m going from memory here so please excuse me if I’m slightly out anywhere.)

    Fermanagh’s Brewster Park, Enniskillen, Down’s Pairc Esler Newry, Tyrone’s Healy Park Omagh, Donegal’s MacCumhaill Park Ballybofey, all have capacities of around 20,000, with 5,000 seated in a covered stand, the rest on new terracing. Cavan’s Breffni Park holds around 28,000, with about 8,000 covered seats. Antrim’s Casement Park holds 33,000, with just 3,000 covered seats (with a further 10,000 uncovered concrete benches). Clones holds 35,000, with 7,000 covered seats and 10,000 uncovered seats. God knows how Armagh’s long-awaited revamp of the Athletic Grounds will finish up.

    But clearly we haven’t seen a scramble for everyone to have oversized grounds. Most are around the 18-20k mark, except for the designated “big 3”.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “The aim appears to be to build for capacity, with no regard for quality.”

    I think this is a fair point, though quality has certainly improved. Even fifteen years ago most country grounds contained one side of uncovered concrete benches and three sides of grass banks. Since then we’ve seen huge investments, bringing most GAA grounds up to the kind of standard one saw in, say English soccer grounds pre-Hillsborough. But I suppose GAA fans haven’t tended to be fussy, and most would prefer to stand outdoors than run the risk of not getting a ticket for a big championship game – and people REALLY care about missing championship games, hence the preponderance of large, basic venues that might only be filled once or twice a year. Stadia are planned with the biggest games in mind.

    “However things are continuing to evolve. We are seeing more and more new stands and superior facilities being provided. When its second stand is completed, Healy Park in Omagh will be probably the finest, most modern stadium in the north. Pairc Esler in Newry is a fine development. Breffni Park is a great stadium. Again, we’ll see how Armagh works out.

    “Eg, I think in Munster there are now five 50k plus grounds that are used on average of once or twice a year.”

    Semple Stadium, Thurles, Pairc Ui Chaoimh Cork, Gaelic Grounds Limerick…..

    Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney would be about 35k. Cusack Park Ennis holds about 22k. Not sure about Walsh Park in Waterford but I know it’s smallish.

    “It would have been far better to build one top class 50k stadium, and a range of decent 20k ones.”

    I actually agree.

    “GAA top brass know the problem, but the problem is that they don’t have their hands on most of the money to be able to fix it.”

    This is the nub of it. The GAA is awash with wealth but that’s not the same as saying the top brass controls a lot of money. Most of the association’s money is raised locally and most of that stays in the locality. Central funds also tend to be spread very far and very wide. Where you err is in thinking that this is a problem. Few in the GAA regard it as such.