Burns Club car park plans for oval throw Tuggeranong Little Athletics

Ian Bushnell 14 May 2021 52
Sign on oval edge

The development application notice for the proposed car park on Kambah Ovals opposite the Burns Club. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

The Burns Club and Tuggeranong Little Athletics are at loggerheads over plans for a public car park that will take out the field events area on Kambah Ovals.

A development application has been lodged for the construction of a 98-space car park along a strip of the public playing fields opposite the Burns Club on Kett Street, which also wants to redevelop an adjacent car park on club land to the south as part of diversification plans to reduce its reliance on poker machine income, as encouraged by the ACT Government.

The two clubs have been negotiating over the plans since 2019, with the Burns Club offering to relocate three shot put rings at its own expense, but Tuggeranong Little Athletics says the triple and long jump sand pit will also be affected, as well as trees used for shade.


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Burns Club CEO John Weir says the re-development plans hinge on building a new car park, which will also ease parking issues for all oval users and club patrons, particularly on weekends.

“We can’t do anything without additional car parking,” he said. “A 100-year-old business is fighting for survival because Little Athletics won’t move three shot put rings.”

But Tuggeranong Tornadoes Little Athletics Association president Barb Miels-Barrett says most of what the Burns Club had offered would not comply with safety standards or world athletics standards.

She also rejected the notion that parking was a problem at the oval.

The DA says the development of the car park, including lighting and security cameras, will include an upgrade to Little Athletics facilities but does not mention what they are.

Mr Weir insists it is only the shot put rings at issue and that an existing sandpit could be extended with little or no interference with Little Athletics facilities.

Aerial of club and oval

An aerial shot of the Burns Club and Kambah Ovals showing where the proposed car park would be built and the land the club wants to redevelop. Image: Purdon Planning.

But the club is prepared to do what it takes to meet the needs of Tuggeranong Little Athletics.

“We have no desire to take away any assets or funding or penalise Tuggeranong Little Athletics,” Mr Weir said. “We’re a community-based club.”

Ms Miels-Barrett said her association provided the Burns Club with specifications for what was required last December, but the next thing they knew, a DA had been lodged.

“Our aim is not to stop progress, but we need to make sure we have a space and place for our kids that’s safe, complies with athletics standards, and people know about it,” she said.

“We just want to make sure that whatever happens, it is to the benefit of the children.”

Mr Weir said it was unclear what kind of redevelopment would be pursued for the car park site, which currently allows a child care centre and would need a variation to the Territory Plan for other uses.

He said the Burns Club did not want gaming machines to be its primary source of income and had greatly reduced its reliance on gambling, from a percentage in the high 70s to the low 60s.

“We’re trying to get that to below 50 per cent of income, but without diversification, we’re dead in the water,” Mr Weir said.


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Tuggeranong Little Athletics has been lobbying local MLAs, and Liberal Nicole Lawder took the matter up in the Assembly this week. She has called for the proposal to be rejected, saying it was an unfair attack on community sport in Tuggeranong.

“This space is an important community asset that has helped produce both Canberra and Australian-level athletes,” she said.

DA submissions close on 17 May.


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52 Responses to Burns Club car park plans for oval throw Tuggeranong Little Athletics
John Moulis John Moulis 11:55 am 19 May 21

We go to the Burns club regularly. It is heavily patronised and parking is at a premium. By contrast I have never seen what is being described as a Little athletics area being used at all. In fact I didn’t even know it was there!

I think the Burns club is thinking of its future with this proposal, and the fact that it’s non-poker machine activities i.e. the Star buffet – are proving increasingly popular in this post Covid lockdown environment.

People in Kambah seem to be thinking rather insularly regarding this issue. People from all over Canberra come to the Burns club and we shouldn’t be pushed aside in favour of three shotput rings which never seemed to be used.

    bj_ACT bj_ACT 6:40 pm 19 May 21

    I’m amazed you’ve never seen the packed junior athletics. I’m guessing you’ve never been to the Burns Club on a Saturday morning or a Wednesday afternoon, if you’ve never seen the Athletics in action. Saturday’s at that oval was often full of various junior and senior sports from early morning till dusk and midweek evenings there’s many teams training under lights.

Melissa Wallace Pascoe Melissa Wallace Pascoe 11:16 am 19 May 21

why is it the that clubs think they can do what they want when they have enough car parks already.

    Scott Evans Scott Evans 12:44 pm 19 May 21

    Melissa Wallace Pascoe because they have an all you can eat restaurant and that takes priority over everything lol

Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 5:33 pm 17 May 21

I'm completely gobsmacked the Burns club can do this. Each year we seem to lose another little piece of public amenity in Kambah. A school here, a bus stop there, a playground, a tennis court, a shopping centre........

bj_ACT bj_ACT 11:13 am 17 May 21

I heard the head of the Burns club on radio this morning magically inventing oval space for sports in his head.

There is just enough space for soccer games, soccer warm ups and little athletics at the moment. It’s often pre and post match when the ground is full. Athol from the Burns club seems to think you can easily run athletics butt up against other sports. This really is about having an adequate space to warm up and a safety issue (specially with little kids mixing with nearby senior sport).

Surely the empty community space west of the Burns club towards Drakeford Drive is a much better location than acquiring land from kids sports. It’s hard enough as it is to get sports and training ground access in Canberra as it is. Burns club are using the reduction in Poker machine issue as a ransom against space for kids sport.

Peter Morales Peter Morales 2:40 pm 16 May 21

The kid's ain't got a chance to voice themselves against a drug and gambling organisation especially when their backed by local government.

Phillip Molloy Phillip Molloy 11:53 am 16 May 21

I agree with you Rod.

approx approx 10:32 am 16 May 21

This proposal is rubbish and and thank you Riot Act for bringing it to our attention. If the Burns Club wants to expand, they can do it on their own land. Turning ovals into car parks is not okay.

If you’re against this, lodge a representation here:
https://form.act.gov.au/smartforms/landing.htm?formCode=1251 Link to the plans is at the end of the article.

When I spoke with Bec Cody ahead of her election as an MLA a few years back, she assured me a Labor government would retain Kambah’s green spaces. Has this changed? Is the Barr government about to start ripping up Kambah?

This is actually *the most* important issue to me as a Kambah resident. Kambah has a unique character thanks to open space, old trees, the three playing fields and bike tracks. The Barr government would do best to understand this character, value it, and work to retain it. They may be misreading the room on this.

The playing fields are the heart of Kambah. If you want car parks, go to Kingston and wherever else there is mkre concrete and less open space.

The Burns Club can feel free to build another carpark on their own land, or build a two storey. I don’t care how much it costs them, it’s not our responsibility to help them expand. They have enough car parking for their busiest nights, let’s not pretend otherwise.

The Barr Labor government with Chris Steel should not approve this and I encourage everyone to lodge an objection today, 16 May.

Kimmy Hunter Kimmy Hunter 8:09 am 16 May 21

most of the time when I go with family we struggle to find a carpark

Anthony Gordo Anthony Gordo 11:28 pm 15 May 21

What is this mystery development that the car parking is to support? What's going to be built on the old carpark? Surely that's not unknown.

The image looks like the entire changing rooms and canteen are going as well? Is that right?

How much are Burns Club paying the ACT Govt for the land? Are they even?

    Jordan Amber Jordan Amber 5:54 pm 16 May 21

    Anthony Gordo the club has to diversify away from gambling based revenue business models and as part of the ACT Government requirement, extra parking is to be added to accommodate additional patrons for the diversification otherwise the club will have to close as they won't be meeting the ACT Government requirements.

Rod Phillips Rod Phillips 9:08 pm 15 May 21

There is plenty of parking already. It is never full, even on Friday and Saturday evenings which are the busiest evenings. Also there is adjacent parking behind the shops which is physically closer then parts of the proposed development area. The proposed changes impact on a large section of the community space and walking tracks, which are used extensively by the broader Kambah community not just Little A's (just sit on the coppers logs at dawn and see how many locals use the area for morning walks and excercise). I dont see how this benefits anyone. Instead of giving up public greenspace for another carpark, how about you invest in services within the club that cater to local community such as additional restraunt eating options and family friendly facilities, maybe you'd get more walkin yraffic from the locals community you claim benefits from your existance. If parking is really a constraint, then build a multi storey on the existing carpark adjacent the Drakeford drive. Plenty of space there!

Max Dent Max Dent 7:02 pm 15 May 21

As a Burns club patron and a member of the Burns Football club, I think people should come to the club. Come and have a beer with me and see how much the Burns actually does for the community. From sponsorship of my club to raffles for the tuggeranong buffaloes/old boys and lions club. More parking means more patrons, with in the end means more money for our community.

    Darren Broadbent Darren Broadbent 9:59 pm 15 May 21

    Max Dent then pay for moving the pits

    James Suman James Suman 5:51 am 16 May 21

    They actually offered to pay to reconstruct the facilities for the little athletics, but they refused and cried instead.

    I'm with Max, the Burns Club is an great facility, they support local clubs (mine also) and I've been there many times and the carpark does fill up at major events

    Yvette Croft Yvette Croft 10:18 am 16 May 21

    James Suman They didn’t cry, they just need the equipment to be of Australian and World Athletics standards. Just like a football field requires the goal posts to be a certain size, distance etc, the Athletics equipment needs to meet the required standards and the club has not come to an agreement with the TLAA.

    Tom Walsh Tom Walsh 1:21 pm 17 May 21

    Yvette Croft they Cried about it, be realistic.

    Yvette Croft Yvette Croft 1:31 pm 17 May 21

    Tom Walsh They just want their equipment at a standard required by Australian and World Athletics, is that too much to ask for when the club is wanting to rip them out? I’m sure football would kick up a stink if we moved everything into the centre of the running track!

Jane Kim Jane Kim 6:17 pm 15 May 21

They don’t need to do a land grab of the oval for more car parking. There are always empty spaces.

Yvette Croft Yvette Croft 4:52 pm 15 May 21

EDIT: I have been updated and the Burns Club have offered to move the equipment, but not to the Australian and World standards required by Athletics and there has been no agreement by the Tuggeranong Little Athletes Association.

The Burns Club does not need more car spaces, they are currently not filled at any one time during the week. The Burns Clubs has not offered to pay for moving the shot put rings and long jump pits.

They do have land on the other side of the car park to create more spaces.

I am a member of the club and at no time is the car park full.

    Jordan McMillan Jordan McMillan 9:59 am 16 May 21

    Yvette Croft it says in the article that they did offer to move them

    Yvette Croft Yvette Croft 10:05 am 16 May 21

    Jordan McMillan Thank you, I have been updated and they have offered to pay for moving the equipment, but not to the Australian and World standards required by Athletics and there has been no agreement by the Tuggeranong Little Athletes Association.

デ スティーブ デ スティーブ 3:33 pm 15 May 21

Carpark requirement is a myth, they could just build a double level car park on their site, it'd be no problem.

    Matthew Beale Matthew Beale 4:14 pm 15 May 21

    デ スティーブ it could be a problem for two reasons:

    1) permit laws around multi-storey structures.

    2) the cost of a two-storey carpark would not be feasible compared to an open plan single storey carpark.

    Who should foot the bill for the additional costs?

    デ スティーブ デ スティーブ 5:09 pm 15 May 21

    Matthew Beale if they can't justify the cost, then do they really need it?

    Matthew Beale Matthew Beale 5:29 pm 15 May 21

    デ スティーブ if they can justify the cost of a single level car park, yes.

    It would be the same as saying I can not justify a 10 storey car park, so I will not build a single storey car park.

    デ スティーブ デ スティーブ 6:10 pm 15 May 21

    Matthew Beale coz they are not paying for the land.

    Matthew Beale Matthew Beale 6:12 pm 15 May 21

    デ スティーブ they still have to pay for the construction of the car park. And as you add storeys to it, the cost goes up closer to an exponential function, not a linear function.

    デ スティーブ デ スティーブ 6:18 pm 15 May 21

    Matthew Beale it's a once off cost

    Matthew Beale Matthew Beale 6:26 pm 15 May 21

    デ スティーブ is it? I build a 2 storey car park. I need to maintain lights, marked lines, likely security cameras, and general maintenance.

    And if I said you had to make a $10M one off cost, could you say just because it is one off, you could afford it?

    デ スティーブ デ スティーブ 6:28 pm 15 May 21

    Matthew Beale pointless argument. The club should justify the development application with cost benefit analysis looking at alternatives. Instead of simply expecting others to hand over public land for negligible benefit.

    デ スティーブ デ スティーブ 6:29 pm 15 May 21

    Matthew Beale and they don't have security cameras at the moment, and if they add them, they'd have them regardless how many levels to it. Adding levels doesn't mean added operational cost

    Matthew Beale Matthew Beale 6:32 pm 15 May 21

    デ スティーブ it does! Okay, here is a builders consideration!

    1) Working at heights levy. This is a cost to contract tradesmen who can and have passed a working at heights course.

    2) Weight barring structure. If you add a car park on top of a car park, you must have additional reinforcements, both pillars AND thicker concrete base.

    3) Additional ramps, thus additional materials that you do not just x2 for a 2nd level.

    Tell me any of those 3 are not applicable.

    デ スティーブ デ スティーブ 7:24 pm 15 May 21

    Matthew Beale I said operational cost as in post build

    デ スティーブ デ スティーブ 7:25 pm 15 May 21

    Matthew Beale but again, not relevant without a cost-benefits analysis

    Matthew Beale Matthew Beale 8:39 pm 15 May 21

    デ スティーブ I am sorry, I am done with this. Not worth it anymore.

    John Kerry Tozer John Kerry Tozer 9:01 am 16 May 21

    デ スティーブ - He just gave you one...

    デ スティーブ デ スティーブ 9:03 am 16 May 21

    John Kerry Tozer sorry, must've missed the part where the benefits of having a larger csrpark were mentioned and where they are weighed up against the costs of different options.

    John Kerry Tozer John Kerry Tozer 9:15 am 16 May 21

    デ スティーブ - Help us out here... It costs waaaay more to build a suspended car park than it does to build a surface carpark - fact! A club that has waaaay sufficient carparking will perform (financially) better than a club that doesn’t - fact! Maintaining sports ovals in Canberra costs waaaay more money than they produce - that’s actually a BIG part of why government wants to get them off their list of responsibilities - fact! Once a club has ownership of a car park, its only a small step, a lump of cash and a lease variation away from ANY other future use. Fact!

    How would you like your “cost benefit analysis” to treat these last two items? Where would you like the figures to come from?

    Matthew Beale Matthew Beale 9:27 am 16 May 21

    John Kerry Tozer I have no idea how I can not explain this to Steve. Building a 100 car park, 2 storey structure costs more than a 100 car park single storey structure, but he keeps saying it is a one-off cost. They are worth different amounts!

Matt Jones-clarke Matt Jones-clarke 3:04 pm 15 May 21

Oh no what ever will those 10 people a year do now that use the oval maybe walk across the road to the other ovel that's triple the size less then 300m away

    Bob Fraser Bob Fraser 10:30 am 16 May 21

    Matt J-Clarke I have seen twelve people actually. I visit Burns Club on Thursdays and park at Kambah shops. No free spaces at all.

Wayne Palmer Wayne Palmer 12:08 pm 15 May 21

Yet another community open space to be chewed up by a greedy organisation.

    David Malcolm David Malcolm 12:55 pm 15 May 21

    Wayne Palmer did you read the article?

    Tony Armstrong Tony Armstrong 1:18 pm 15 May 21

    David, I did and like Wayne said "community open space" is what they want.

    Wayne Palmer Wayne Palmer 2:40 pm 15 May 21

    David Malcolm yes I did.

    David Malcolm David Malcolm 3:39 pm 15 May 21

    Did you read the bits that stated that the club offered to pay to move the affected areas, but the little athletics didn't want too?

    Wayne Palmer Wayne Palmer 4:05 pm 15 May 21

    David Malcolm - yep. I did. Doesn't change my statement.

    Nell Feneck Nell Feneck 8:43 am 16 May 21

    David Malcolm good they shouldn’t have to

    Peter Morales Peter Morales 2:41 pm 16 May 21

    David Malcolm WTF should they

bj_ACT bj_ACT 10:38 am 15 May 21

When I lived in Kambah we lost multiple Public schools, Tennis Courts, Children’s playgrounds, Cricket Nets, Basketball courts etc etc. Hardly anyone of importance batted an eyelid.

Kambah has long been an easy target because not enough local residents kick up a stink or have the government or business connections to stop the changes.

So many of those community facilities I mentioned have been replaced by housing development. The government sold them off to enrich property developers not enrich Kambah residents livelihoods. Remove an inner south park bench and the community rightly reacts to save it. They usually win their case.

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