Confirmation from the ACT Government that there will be no work on a proposed indoor sports stadium in Civic – potentially on the site of Canberra Olympic Pool – until later this decade should come as no surprise.
There has been increasing speculation about budget pressures associated with COVID-19. There is also the expansion of Canberra Hospital and the second stage of light rail, on top of previous issues impacting the ACT economy such as Mr Fluffy and the Black Summer bushfires.
Now with confirmation that nothing is likely to happen until at least the late 2020s, what does it mean for Canberra’s football teams?
The general consensus is that GIO Stadium, in Bruce, is well and truly passed its use-by date. It is especially evident when comparisons are made with other stadiums around Australia.
With improvements being made to Brookvale Oval, home to NRL club Manly Sea Eagles, and the likelihood that a number of Sydney clubs will play home games at the new stadium at Moore Park, the Canberra Raiders are fast becoming the poor cousins in the NRL.
This is even more evident given the weather conditions that Canberra sporting fans experience in winter.
I doubt playing premiership games at Seiffert Oval, in Queanbeyan, is an option, but there is the possibility of the Raiders playing more games in country areas such as Wagga Wagga, where the club will take one home game next season.
If taking games to the country continues to be a success, the Raiders could play more than one game a season there.
The Brumbies have struggled financially to break even at GIO Stadium in the past couple of seasons.
Would it be more feasible to play some home games at Viking Park, in Wanniassa, where the costs of staging fixtures are significantly lower than GIO Stadium?
There has been radio silence on Canberra’s A-League bid, with little speculation in the past six months about the likelihood of the ACT securing a team.
Without an updated facility, it is unlikely the bid would get off the ground.
It’s a catch-22 situation for the Canberra A-League bid, with the government suggesting the city having an A-League team is important in any proposal to build a new stadium.
There have been plenty of curveballs with the stadium saga, including speculation that other locations for the stadium were being considered, including Exhibition Park. This speculation emerged well after Civic was deemed to be the logical site.
For the foreseeable future it will be a case of a continued forced relationship with GIO Stadium.