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BCI Stadium beats biggest task

Wednesday 14 September 2011 | Published in Regional


The BCI Stadium upgrades faced its biggest hurdle recently, as a slip-up here could have caused cancellation of next months Kiwi-Kuki rugby league test match.

Like any short person knows, changing a light bulb can be a difficult thing to do.

Just imagine if you needed a crane to carry out the task, all while making sure not do damage the floor underneath.

The playing surface at the BCI Stadium came under scrutiny ahead of the international test match, the Kiwi contingent complaining the grass was not up to scratch to hold a rugby league match.

The Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) was sent scrambling to fix the surface before the October 6 test match and, despite all the positive progress, the hard work caused new headaches for the people organising the grounds $40,000 revamp.

The light towers are too high for electricians to scale and just out of reach of cherry-pickers.

The only way to change the 20-year-old light bulbs was to bring in a heavy crane.

CIIC administration manager Annie Goodwin said the cranes brought some nervous moments in the stadium upgrades.

The heavy machinery had the potential of ruining the playing surface, undoing all the work at the stadium and making the test match unplayable in the Cook Islands.

Goodwin said it took some thinking, but the team was able to find a route and lay down some plywood tracks at the stadium, over grass and running tracks, to accommodate the cranes.

Luckily, it all went to plan.

It was a big relief. Its all working out well and the grass doesnt look like its been damaged, Goodwin said.

And the recent down pouring of rain is helping groundsmen bring the playing surface up to international standards.

All that is needed now is a fresh lick of paint on the VIP room and the change rooms at the stadium, and it will be ready to host the Kiwis and the Kukis next month, just five days after the NRL grand final.

Goodwin said the grounds and the facilities were all looking great and the upgrades were being completed on time.

She said she was glad to see the light bulbs replaced, the biggest and most challenging task of the upgrade now in the past.

Even just tracking down some replacement globes proved troublesome. Not many still exist and not many facilities still use the bulbs needed for the BCI Stadium.

In the end, CIIC was able to track down the right bulbs long-kept in storage at Levin, in the south of New Zealands North Island.