2 September 2023

Growing Molonglo moves closer to having its own sporting fields

| Ian Bushnell
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diagram of 2 rectangular Stromlo District Playing fields and an oval

A section of the Stromlo District Playing Fields from the preliminary concept plan, showing the fields, parking, pavilion space and the landscaped grounds. Images: ACT Government.

The development of public playing fields for the new Molonglo Valley suburbs is to get a kick along with the ACT Government seeking a consultant to design the project.

The tender release comes nearly three years after Otium Planning Group was engaged to provide a preliminary design report for the Stromlo District Playing Fields, to be sited in the south-east corner of Stromlo Forest Park, west of Swallowtail Road and north of Cotter Road.

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That was followed by a preliminary concept plan which included an AFL/cricket grass turf oval; two rectangular grass turf fields; and a synthetic combination sportsground consisting of two rectangular fields and a modified oval.

After talking to AFL (ACT/NSW), it was agreed the orientation of the oval would run east-west, which is not typical.

Also provided in the concept plan was lighting, a pavilion, cricket nets, dedicated site access off Swallowtail Road, an internal road and parking, stormwater treatments including a retention pond, and pedestrian paths and trees.

The tender document states the consultant will need to keep an eye on construction and maintenance costs, and minimise the impacts on neighbouring residents such as noise and light spill, and the environment.

diagram of part of Stromlo District Playing oval and rectangular fields

Stromlo District Playing Fields, showing two of the rectangular field and grounds.

It will need to design a functional sporting complex where its facilities are connected and the site easy to move around.

A tree planting program that complies with Government canopy rules will be required, or an exemption if that can’t be achieved within a sports complex environment.

The design will also need to include effective wind breaks across the site to support sporting activities and minimise the impact of traffic noise from nearby roads.

Part of the Stromlo Forest Park Master Plan, the playing fields will service the growing Molonglo region and provide sporting groups and the local community with facilities to support a diverse range of health and recreational activities.

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In the 2020 election campaign, Labor committed $15 million over four years from 2020-21 for the first stage of the project – two playing fields and lighting.

The Government is seeking a final sketch plan by mid-2024 and looking at construction starting in 2025 or 2026.

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Is this really the best spot for new ovals?

These ovals will take away existing mountain bike trails – the ones heavily used by beginners and kids alike – from Stromlo Forest Park. In fact they were just revamped. Would seem like a massive waste of money to destroy them and the existing bike path?

Why not revamp the ovals in Weston Creek which seem under-utilised or find an alternative spot in Molonglo valley? It’s not like the area around Holdens Creek is exactly flat (hence the mountain bike trails!) and would need to be raised, much like London Circuit.

Also, with the future paid parking fund the mountain bike trails, how will the construction and maintenance of the ovals and associated facilities work?

What’s the impact on the ecology of Holdens Creek?

So many open issues.

Agreed @Simo – and I feel like this has well and truly flown under the radar. I live in the Molonglo Valley, and ride at Stromlo regularly, yet today is the first I’ve heard of this whole plan (I’m late to replying in this thread as I only became aware of the whole issue by way of a brief mention in the ‘OurCBR’ Mar 2024 newsletter). Like the MTB paid parking, who is asking for these fields, and where is the consultation?

Gregg Heldon6:44 am 05 Sep 23

Why does it take so long to do anything, infrastructure wise, here in Canberra? Snails and sooths move faster. It does not take anyone 12 months to sketch a sporting complex.

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