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If ever there was momentum to justify building a new stadium in Civic, it is now

Tim Gavel 8 October 2019 163
Raiders supporters at ANZ Stadium

The sea of green at the NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Tim Gavel.

On Sunday night, Sydney’s Olympic Park was a sea of green, an indication, if nothing else, that support for the Canberra Raiders is at an all-time high.

Estimates had the Raiders’ contingent in the crowd of 82,000 at 65 to 70 per cent compared to support for the Roosters.

The expectation is that crowds for Raiders home games next season will be higher in the wake of the team’s performance this year, as well as the greater profile of the players following the massive exposure in the build-up to the decider.

If ever there was momentum to secure funding from both the Commonwealth and private equity partners, as well as justifying ACT Government funds to help build a new indoor stadium in Civic, it should be now.

If you were looking to raise funding in China or Singapore for the stadium, this is the perfect storm.

Part of the internal decision-making could be whether it will be a government-funded and owned facility or part-government–part-privately funded and operated.

Over the past three weeks, the people of Canberra have demonstrated what this team means to the community and the role the Raiders play in our lives.

I concede part of the issue has been the Commonwealth’s decision-making process involving the future of the AIS precinct facilities, which includes Canberra Stadium. This is understandable as it effectively will be a decision about the role the AIS will play in Australian sport in the ensuing years.

If the land on which Canberra Stadium currently exists was essentially gifted to the ACT Government, funds could be raised through development on the site to assist in building the new stadium.

The ACT Government had placed a caveat on the construction of a new stadium, which was the requirement for Canberra to also have an A-League team to ensure there is use during the summer months outside the NRL and Super Rugby seasons.

If you are waiting for that to happen, it may never be built. Just ask those who have been campaigning for an A-League team in Canberra. Canberra’s participation in the W-League surely should factor into the equation.

The Raiders have shown that by connecting to the community, the community will support the team. It is why I believe there will be more support than ever before for the ACT Government to say yes, now is the time to bite the bullet and build the stadium.


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163 Responses to If ever there was momentum to justify building a new stadium in Civic, it is now
Capital Retro 10:38 am 17 Oct 19

“I think what Canberra stadium lacks is that pre and post atmosphere”

Fair comment but this usually depends on access to bars and alcohol which was popular 50 years ago in densely populated suburbs near the sporting venues in Sydney and Melbourne. Public transport was another factor. I recall a local investor bought the Old Jamison Inn at Macquarie when the Raiders moved from Queanbeyan to what was then called Bruce Stadium. The idea was to provide a licensed venue with atmosphere for pre and post gatherings when the Raiders were playing. It didn’t happen. The area around where the proposed Civic stadium is has “died” and is bereft of pubs and bars so it won’t happen there either.

Richard Willcoxson Richard Willcoxson 10:08 pm 16 Oct 19

I think what Canberra stadium lacks is that pre and post atmosphere. Once a game is done everyone files out to busses or cars and it’s done. Having visit Wollongong their game day is a much better experience. the city centre is packed with people in bars, cafes and restaurants. Party atmosphere walking to the stadium. Same thing happens after the game. Bring it I say

Murray Blair Murray Blair 8:24 pm 11 Oct 19

Just renovate Bruce and add a roof which makes sense for our climate..

Capital Retro 1:37 pm 11 Oct 19

“Build it and they will come”

The only people that will come will be the receivers and administrators.

Litia Smith Litia Smith 12:42 pm 11 Oct 19

Build it and they will come

Benjamin Kruzins Benjamin Kruzins 11:36 am 11 Oct 19

The ACT labor/greens government is too busy trying to make pot legal they probably did not even know the Raiders were in the granny.

Liz Lyell Liz Lyell 2:57 am 11 Oct 19

How about expanding the old stadium. No room in Civic for such a large structure. You'd have to get rid of some apartment buildings, God forbid.

Will Andrews Will Andrews 3:15 pm 10 Oct 19

Tom Callaghan you may your wish

Jamie Carpenter Jamie Carpenter 12:35 pm 10 Oct 19

Why can’t the act government speak to the owners of BRUCE stadium 🏟 & help pay for a roof & car parks. 👍

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 8:40 am 10 Oct 19

I fully support this stadium notion as long as the project is part of a broader renewal strategy with connections to good transport includes a way to provide a shelter for homeless folk.

Kim Navin Kim Navin 7:14 am 10 Oct 19

And what do those who aren't into sport get. The bill!

Zoe Lewer Zoe Lewer 6:58 am 10 Oct 19

Why build a stadium in a place already congested and with no parking? Bruce is literally 5 mins from great restaurants at Belconnen, and 10-15 from city with traffic. Wouldn't it be cheaper to do the Belco -City line past the AIS. Seems a smarter way to increase use of venue, reduce congestion/parking in city, benefit a larger section of the community and create jobs. If we are splashing money about I think building something that creates infrastructure for the next generation is a more ethical thing to do. We have heaps of empty venues already

Alexander Lea Alexander Lea 12:22 am 10 Oct 19

Please don't do what sydney did!!

Mary Kingsford Mary Kingsford 10:33 pm 09 Oct 19

Use the current location.

Play local games across the border while the build goes on.

It doesn't need to move to the city.

Martin Miller Martin Miller 10:10 pm 09 Oct 19

Sow us the money? Tim Gavel

Megan van der Velde 9:55 pm 09 Oct 19

I agree – renovate and make it more user friendly to those who like sport – which by the way is not all of us. I do not agree with the sport is the glue. for society. There is many of us who do not agree with the money spent on unbelievable salaries for ‘heroes’ who do little often than pose poor examples to our young men. Like all things, this type of entertainment it has a place in our community but is not an activity where taxpayers money should be heavily invested in. Try putting more into rehab, disability, sick kids, medial research. Just my opinion.

petunia petal 9:24 pm 09 Oct 19

Theres a short of specialists in Canberra, people are being forced to drive to Sydney to see specialists. Thats an absolute disgrace. Let’s fix the abomination that’s ACT health first before we turn to building billion dollar stadiums.

    JC 6:00 am 10 Oct 19

    The government doesn’t employ specialists. So not sure how you think the ACT government can fix this particular issue which I will agree is real.

    Any fix would need to come from the federal government by training new specialists through Uni etc or through targeted immigration to raise the number in the country which in turn will mean to remain competitive some would need to seek to come to markets like Canberra. But again that is not an issue that money or the local government has any control over.

    petunia petal 8:40 am 12 Oct 19

    ahhh yes the ACT government does employ specialists through the public hospital system, Im not talking about the private system at all.

    Furthermore, the shortage isn’t anything to do with the number of medical graduates (which has actually been increasing!) there are a lack of training placements in public hospitals (a state and territory issue) – enough doctors can’t train to be specialists in the numbers required because the positions don’t exist. Furthermore, pay enough for qualified specialists and they will come work at our hospitals. The ACT gov doesn’t want to do this.

Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 7:47 pm 09 Oct 19

To all- sport is the very best glue for society. It teaches how to face challenges, how to stay fit, gives a goal for striving for excellence, you learn about teamwork, perseverance, how to cope with disappointment, the joys of winning and being successful. Care for each other, nutrition, a wonderful source of enjoyment for the elderly and the immobile. You learn about focus and concentration and skills and......bring on a new indoor stadium now!

Maree Hudson Maree Hudson 7:45 pm 09 Oct 19

Just look at that sea of green

Benjammin Murrell Benjammin Murrell 7:22 pm 09 Oct 19

I like the idea of a second indoor stadium in civic and at the same time as building it also accelerating the light rail to the airport/woden/the existing stadium

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