Saturday 9 July 2011 | Published in Regional
Upgrade work on the BCI Stadium grounds began this week in anticipation of the one league test match between the Kiwis and Cook Islands in October as well as the annual International Sevens in Heaven tournament in November.
Some $40,000 is being spent on the upgrade work which also involves general maintenance of the running track, grandstand and changing rooms.
But it was the state of the actual playing field that sparked concern that the Kiwis would cancel due to the unplayable state of the uneven grounds.
One of the conditions of New Zealand Rugby League agreeing to the Kiwis playing the Cooks in Rarotonga was an international standard field.
Because of this, the upgrade work on the field kicked in this week after much email dialogue on the condition of the field. One commentator on the league emailing list quipped the field should be left in its current state as it would all be part of the Cooks home ground advantage.
CIIC is being supported in the upgrade work by the Cook Islands Football Association which is lending its grounds-keeping equipment plus expert grounds-keeper Peter John to help with the work on the field.
Kevin Iro is also assisting in the upgrade work with students from his Cook Islands Sports Academy to help lay the top soil on the field.
Rumours have also circulated that part of the multimillion dollar running track at the stadium would be removed as part of the upgrade work.
However this rumour has been quashed by Goodwin who says that no part of the track will be removed or destroyed as part of the upgrade.
The stadium will be closed until work on the field has finished; however track athletes preparing for the Pacific Games have a special agreement with CIIC to be able to go into the stadium to do their training on the track.
CIIC would like to thank CIFA president Lee Harmon for his generosity in sharing the codes equipment and expertise as well as league president Charles Carlson and Kevin Iro.
The match between the Kiwis and Cook Islands will be played on October 6 although all the international media stories on the game have stated that the game will be on October 7.