5 September 2022

A city stadium is dead and buried, so where to next? And what about Civic Olympic Pool?

| Tim Gavel
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Canberra Stadium screen

Redeveloping Bruce Stadium faces a lot of hurdles. Photo: ACT Government.

It has been a slow burn, but it is now obvious the proposed indoor stadium on the site of the Civic Olympic Pool won’t be going ahead.

The Chief Minister has made it clear this week that the concept is dead and buried.

A stadium in the city has many positives, including proximity to bars and restaurants, which has become a theme of modern stadiums as they integrate with existing entertainment options.

But in the end, there were too many hurdles: the cost; the realignment of Parkes Way; the ability to grow grass in an indoor stadium given the proposed alignment; the limitations of the size of the Civic Pool block; as well as questions about how often it might be used.

Civic Olympic Pool

Civic Olympic Pool is also a costly asset to keep up and running. Photo: File.

So, with no appetite whatsoever now for the Civic site, where to now for an indoor stadium to cater for Brumbies and Raiders games?

The obvious solution is a rebuild on the site of the existing Canberra Stadium, but that option also faces a number of hurdles.

An obvious one is that the site is owned by the Commonwealth and not the ACT Government.

There is also the issue of cost, which appears to be growing by the day, as well as the expense of constantly refurbishing the ageing facility at Bruce.

But compared to the modern facilities built, being built, or proposed for every other capital city except Darwin, it falls well short in terms of being a comfortable place to watch live sport.

READ MORE Barr pours more cold water on dreams of a ‘very challenging’ city stadium

It is not just the structure of the stadium and the modern comforts demanded by sports fans that need to be considered, but the ambience around Canberra Stadium that could be improved.

I have heard other options put forward for a stadium including Tuggeranong, Belconnen and Exhibition Park, but I am far from convinced that it would be better than the existing stadium at Bruce.

One of the interesting aspects of the Bruce site was the theory that if the Commonwealth handed over the AIS Arena and Canberra Stadium to the ACT Government there was the possibility of selling the site of Canberra Stadium to developers to help finance the cost of a new Civic stadium.

READ MORE Stadium pipedream in the queue as tired Canberra spaces vie for government’s attention

Another factor to consider is the future of the Civic Olympic Pool site, which has had issues over the years and appears to be in constant need of repair.

Some time ago there was a proposal to build a major aquatic facility on the Lake Burley Griffin foreshore at Acton to replace the Civic Pool.

That doesn’t appear to be an option anymore.

So will the Civic Olympic Pool site be developed into a new aquatic facility, will it be the location for a new convention centre, or will it be left to wither?

There is much to consider on the growing list of Canberra’s sporting needs.

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I think it was fairly obvious from the start the a stadium on the pool site and a thermally heated aquatic centre in West Basin were nothing more than brain emission of gas from the anus.

bluebag_raider7:56 am 11 Sep 22

Replace Manuka Oval with a rectangular stadium and move AFL games out to Bruce ?

Andrew Cooke3:52 pm 10 Sep 22

I’ve lived in Melbourne and there is nothing quite like an afternoon beer and a stroll down to the G to catch a game of footy or the cricket. Similarly Moore Park in Sydney was great for a bar crawl along Cleveland St after a swans game but you’ve got to agree with Barr that there’s no use for a stadium on 340 other days of the year.

Could you build a multi-storey stadium with a new exhibition centre, replacement pool, concert venue and stadium?? Could you do it under a billion dollars?

Just so much short term thinking now from the gov. Develop the stadium in the city on the pool site, sink Parkes Way, it creates a land bridge to the lake, which will be useful as an events space as well for Floriade, move the Multicultural festival there. The stadium can be built to have a basketball court installed at one end for basketball much like they do in the USA. Theres so many options to turn the stadium into a multiuse precinct.

Renovating Bruce will do nothing to improve the city. It just encourages car use to football games as well. I don’t think the gov really knows what it wants to do. I’m wondering if the ACT Liberals complete their cleanout of the nutters, whether its something they’ll use as an election policy in 2024.

Capital Retro3:41 pm 10 Sep 22

Where are the car parks going to be, watto23? It’s simply not realistic to seek out public transport outside PS office hours in Canberra.

Crazed_Loner7:04 pm 08 Sep 22

The obvious solution, other than redeveloping Bruce, is redeveloping Phillip Oval. It is centrally located, has good access to public transport, good parking and many bars, cafes and restaurants close by. Too obvious?

The Government doesn’t need to build a pool. They just approve large apartment complexes that have pools.
Want to go for a swim; buy an apartment.

Barr/Greens have to go. Only interested in massive population increases, and unit blocks on every spare space. The pool will go and become another ugly high-rise like others have said.
Developers run and ruin Canberra for quick profits and to hell with the future social issues.
All ACT pollies and federal should announce immediately where they have investment properties next to these ‘developments’.
Remember Rattenbury investment property along his no negotiab ok E tram line.
All great cities have stadiums in the city. Enough said from this woke
useless government.

2013 was when this regime made their big announcement for a city stadium, convention centre and aquatic facility. A decade later they have no plan for any of them. Looks like the regime has performed flawless backward triple fail.

To be frank, the cost of that convention centre design was utterly absurd – and I am far from convinced a new convention centre, no matter how fancy, is suddenly going to make enough convention people say ‘lets move our convention from ‘insert nice beachside place here’ to Canberra…

The other two less justifiable

Simples. Pool will be sold off to developers for mixed use high rise, because it is next to the site for the new university. Labor/Greens are just waiting for the local developers to tell them when they want it.

Capital Retro11:44 am 06 Sep 22

“Civic Olympic Pool is also a costly asset to keep up and running. “

So are all the pet projects of the government including the arboretum/theme park, the glass works, light rail etc, etc.

I never use the Civic pool but neither do I go to the glassworks, arboretum and use the light rail.

I’ve never understood why Southwell Park wasn’t considered as an option. It is almost identical distance from the City as SFS/SCG are from the GPO/Central and not much further than the MCG is from Melbourne Central. The community playing fields at Southwell would obviously need to be replaced – why not put them on the interior of the racecourse.

They don’t want that traffic in the city. They’d rather build a wall and keep the yokels out.
One would assume that area is earmarked for future development and it would be difficult as light rail already exists nearby with the wrong alignment.

Southwest Park is designed to be a flood basin protecting the area from Sullivan’s Creek which you would need to replace the function elsewhere.

It’s also not oriented the right way for a grass stadium, so you’d have to get rid of the netball courts as well.

And that’s not even starting on how close it is to local residents and what they’d think of the idea.

There are only three places the stadium can go:

City – Need to get rid of barr.
Woden – Put it along the open space on Yarra Glen, near woden. (light rail connections).
Some property would have to be acquired, but isn’t that area destined for urban renewal anyway?
Or Symonston and use the Monaro for traffic.

Vinson1Bernie2:28 pm 06 Sep 22

Interesting they gave $10m to get CISAC going even though the AIS and Macquarie Pool were within 2 km of the CISAC site… Priorities change or is there something else at work here..

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