25 October 2023

Burns Club still faces Little Athletics hurdle in car park proposal

| Ian Bushnell
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The Burns Club car park and a strip of Kambah playing field where the new car park would go. Photos: Ian Bushnell.

The Burns Club has lodged plans for a new car park on a strip of the Kambah oval that will enable it to expand its footprint, more than two years after an initial proposal ran into trouble with the local little athletics club that uses the oval.

In 2021, a DA proposed a 98-space car park along a strip of the public playing fields opposite the Burns Club on Kett Street. This would have freed up the existing 53-space car park on club land used by oval users and Burns Club patrons for development as part of diversification plans to reduce the club’s reliance on poker machine income, as encouraged by the ACT Government.

But the proposal would have taken out Tuggeranong Tornadoes Little Athletics’ field events area, and while the Burns Club offered to relocate the shot put rings, the triple and long jump run-up and sand pit would have been impacted, as well as trees used for shade.

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Now, after lengthy consultation with Little Athletics, the club has returned to its plans, which this time include an updated and improved jumping area and the shot put rings.

But there still may be a final hurdle to clear before the proposal gets the all-clear.

The proposed new car park on unleased Territory Land (Block 10 Section 353) under the custodianship of Transport Canberra & City Services (TCCS) will have 113 spaces for the public and oval users.

The DA, prepared by Purdon Planning, says the car park will be managed and maintained by the Burns Club initially after completion.

“The facility will provide additional benefits to the users of the oval by alleviating all parking issues for the sporting grounds as a whole, as well as simplifying major event management on Kambah Ovals,” it says.

Also proposed are two new driveways and pedestrian access on the western boundary of the block.

building with solar panels on roof

The Burns Club in Kambah. Its development plans depend on relocating the car park.

Burns Club president Athol Chalmers said that although the club and Little Athletics had been working closely on the proposal, he was not sure if it would win their approval.

“I’m not sure we got there,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of changes to the design of the car park where we relocated facilities.”

However, the Little Athletics Club wanted the Burns Club to maintain the new facilities.

“We’ll build it but won’t maintain it in the longer term,” Mr Chalmers said.

“I think we have an agreement on the design features, but their concern then moves to who will maintain this facility going forward.”

Mr Chalmers said future development depended on the car park relocation.

“We’ve got an organisation interested in a childcare facility if we can free that land up,” he said.

“Strategically, it’s very important for us to get through this with Little Athletics.”

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Mr Chalmers said work on the car park would have to be done between the Little Athletics seasons, so 2025 would be the more realistic start date.

He said TCCS should have no objections if all parties were on board, particularly if the Burns Club was paying for the upgrade to the oval facilities.

Tuggeranong Tornadoes Little Athletics president Barb Miels-Barrett said the club was still working through the DA to prepare a considered response.

Comments on the DA close on 1 November.

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“This would have freed up the existing 53-space car park on club land used by oval users and Burns Club patrons for development as part of diversification plans to reduce the club’s reliance on poker machine income”
Keep in mind all these clubs have been granted concessional leases in return for providing a benefit to the community. Care needs to be taken to ensure they are not exploiting this concession, as other clubs have (eg. becoming multi million dollar property developers overnight)

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