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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
Wing Nut 4:37 pm 09 Oct 19

How about spending money in improving the delivery of core services instead of building monuments to themselves and racking up huge debts in the process.

Capital Retro 4:31 pm 09 Oct 19

If the enthusiasts want it they and they alone should pay for it. Most Canberrans will never use such a facility so why should we all be hit in the wallet for a not-needed stadium.

Millions have been spent on cricket/AFL only Manuka Oval and it still struggles to get a full house of paying spectators. The GIO stadium is very rarely filled to capacity and it is only suitable for rugby league, rugby union and soccer. The seats feel the same wherever they are and a new stadium won’t mean our teams in national competitions will perform any better..

Richard Allen Richard Allen 3:39 pm 09 Oct 19

it will never happen

Leah Walker Leah Walker 3:33 pm 09 Oct 19

Yvette Croft our chat yesterday 😂

Yuri Shukost Yuri Shukost 3:10 pm 09 Oct 19

What worries me is that the Barr Government will get the land GIO Stadium is on. They'll bulldoze it before the new stadium is built and then suddenly find another Mr Fluffy stuff-up or a cost blow-out with their stupid tram and we'll lose Raiders and Brumbies because there's no viable stadium.

Federal Government should hold the money from the sale of GIO Stadium in trust until the new stadium is built. Considering they're on different sides of the political divide, the Federal Government wouldn't have any issue with doing so and getting some political mileage out of it at the same time.

Antoinetta Borrello Antoinetta Borrello 2:50 pm 09 Oct 19

I think your pic is ANZ stadium and no certainly not for Canberra and its one off annual fill up

Anthony Rayner Anthony Rayner 1:43 pm 09 Oct 19

Afl and cricket all ready has an oval they have just spent a fortune on

Michael Rose Michael Rose 12:35 pm 09 Oct 19

This is the stupidest idea I’ve heard apart from the tram! No parking, civic pool area not large enough and the list goes on

    Jon Billows Jon Billows 12:48 pm 09 Oct 19

    Michael Rose is large enough and why do you need to drive?

    Rad Rockford Rad Rockford 5:14 pm 09 Oct 19

    Jon Billows it's nowhere near large enough to house a larger facility and if you live on the Southside, driving would be a necessary evil because despite living in the valley and forking out like everyone else for the tram, we won't see anything down here for at least 10 years if at all, and even then, it will service a very slight portion of the valley.

    Stephen Gladwish Stephen Gladwish 10:12 pm 11 Oct 19

    Michael Rose the civic pool site is easily big enough for a new stadium. What are you smoking...

Boweavil Kat Boweavil Kat 12:05 pm 09 Oct 19

Why doesn’t the billion dollars businesses that use this stadium build it instead of leaning on the taxpayers to underpin their business and profits

Anna Kay Anna Kay 11:49 am 09 Oct 19

Why not just renovate this stadium? We cannot afford it as much as id like a stadium in civic, we just can't afford higher rates to pay for it.

Fix GIO stadium, and chuck a roof on it. If possible. Make adequate facilities, make it a destination people want to go to. If they can sell out a stadium for a final, imagine if it had a roof on it in the subzero winter nights!

    Jon Billows Jon Billows 12:50 pm 09 Oct 19

    Anna Kay imagine if it was near literally anything else. It would be full far more often

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 4:36 pm 09 Oct 19

    It will cost nearly as much as a new stadium and will still be lacking. GIO stadium can not be made any better for a reasonable amount of money and that is the problem.

    Anna Kay Anna Kay 7:24 pm 09 Oct 19

    Justin Watson I didn't know, that sucks. But its really not too bad.

    Rad Rockford Rad Rockford 3:52 am 10 Oct 19

    Jon Billows you talk about the city as though everyone is there 24/7 and that's why they're not at Bruce. For what you're proposing, the events housed at a new city centre stadium would need to kick off at 5pm during the week to capitalise on all the people that are "already there" because I'm not sure if you've been in the city on a weekend, but she's dead mate. It's a ghost town in civic unless people are at work. The biggest issue for crowd numbers in Canberra is that our sports are all winter sports. I'm not about to drag my little kids out to have them sit in the freezing cold. If a new stadium was built on the current site with a roof, I'd become a season ticket holder. The conditions determine the attendance, not the location. What needs to be done is a remodelling of the current site to incorporate commercial tenants with a food/drink/nightlife aspect. Build some multilevel car parks so all of the dirt Carpark areas can house a commercial precinct that would be largely serviced by the neighboring residential area and turn it into it's own hub. If you build it, they will come really rings true here.

Ash Wettern Ash Wettern 10:51 am 09 Oct 19

Leah Wettern just as I predicted 😂

    Leah Wettern Leah Wettern 7:59 am 10 Oct 19

    Ash Wettern lol yep! How very cool 👏🏻👏🏻

Bill Bloxham Bill Bloxham 10:36 am 09 Oct 19

Next to the jail so the poor inmates can get day leave

Andrew Millar Andrew Millar 10:29 am 09 Oct 19

If they decide to build one, it needs to be multipurpose. It should be able to hold about 40,000 at capacity and can house AFL, cricket, NRL, union, soccer and accomodate music and other events. I see that as the only way of making it worthy for a 500,000 person city. If they don’t put a roof on it then it’ll be a complete waste of money. I think that we should build it around epic (currently due to accessibility and lack of noise restrictions) as that would also accomodate interstate travellers as it’s basically one turn off the highway. Obviously there needs to be accomodation and restaurants built around there but that isn’t hard. It could also mean that the racecourse could be advertised more for those interested, bringing in extra revenue. If they built it in the city then it would be like Allianz Stadium in Sydney where most people drive as there is no train network, the buses drop people off hundreds of meters away so people drive and it’s always congested, hindering other people’s choices to go to the city for other activities.

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 7:53 pm 09 Oct 19

    Andrew Millar you are on the money, Andrew. everything you say makes perfect sense.

    Rad Rockford Rad Rockford 3:39 am 10 Oct 19

    Andrew Millar if epic is to be decommissioned to a point where the summernats can't be held there, than the capital needs to have a viable motorsport facility. The Nats brings in the highest amount of revenue than any single event in Canberra and it's future needs to be protected. The industries associated with it would be kick started in the capital if we were able to have a year round motorsport events schedule. It would also see Canberra able to host a raft of big name events that would only increase the amount of revenue seen by the local economy. The ACT needs to get its nose out of the air and stop acting like it's too good for the bogan dollar. So far they've pulled out all stops for the pink dollar and that lasted about 5 mins. Motorsport is big bucks and the people involved are only too happy to pay to play.

    Andrew Millar Andrew Millar 1:59 pm 11 Oct 19

    As much as I'd like to see motorsport return to the capital, I very much doubt it will happen as an annual event. We may get the odd special event but it's all but dead and buried here. It would need to be held in a warmer part of the year if it were to eventuate. Stats don't lie though, in only a three year period, the race was costing more than it was worth so no wonder they cancelled it. If all of the vehicles were electric then I'm sure they government wouldn't have a problem of bringing it back though! If people are really keen then they can go to Goulburn and surrounds because the government is not interested, which is a shame since why should a government get to choose your choice of entertainment. Your money is as valuable as the person next to you.

    I agree that we should be taking steps to assure event futures (such as Summernats), but we need to broaden the appeal too. ACT could do this with a new large stadium. Annual events are starting to happen such as the cricket, and it always sells out so people are interested and willing to pay.

    I also agree with other comments on here that we should be making efforts to improve our hospitals/health care as they are struggling and need to be improved for all parties involved.

Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 10:28 am 09 Oct 19

How about putting the money into an AFL team that is "actually" Canberra based, before throwing more money at a facility that only serves the purpose for one or two sports.

    Anthony Rayner Anthony Rayner 1:47 pm 09 Oct 19

    I think the ACT has spent plenty on a 2 game a year code .

    Spend the money on the code that permanently live here .

    We can’t support another national sport .

    The 23 million should go to the new civic stadium

    Yuri Shukost Yuri Shukost 2:57 pm 09 Oct 19

    Anthony Rayner This would require the AFL to expand their comp even further. I doubt there's any enthusiasm for that among their hierarchy or existing teams, especially when the Gold Coast is performing so poorly.

    Pete Roddy Pete Roddy 3:21 pm 10 Oct 19

    Anthony Rayner Now you’re talking sense Anthony!

    Andrew Trev Hendry Andrew Trev Hendry 3:24 pm 10 Oct 19

    Pete Roddy I'm more interested in an upgrade of Twickenham for the mighty Blues

Shaz Mcgrath Shaz Mcgrath 10:12 am 09 Oct 19

Money is needed eles where

AbbDon Helen AbbDon Helen 9:59 am 09 Oct 19

There are plenty of other priorities... we have two awesome venues in the current stadium and Manuka Oval ... and have a look around ... ACT government has sold off major portions of city car parks to developers so the idea of putting a stadium in Civic is ludicrous

    Jon Billows Jon Billows 10:04 am 09 Oct 19

    AbbDon Helen no one drives to a city stadium that's the point

    Park and ride

    AbbDon Helen AbbDon Helen 10:05 am 09 Oct 19

    Jon Billows au contraire ... people drive to the city for everything ... Floriade, music festivals, food festivals, Australia Day celebrations- the list goes ... I live in the city and see the congestion every time there is an event

    Jon Billows Jon Billows 10:18 am 09 Oct 19

    AbbDon Helen and the Govt should be reducing car parking so that more people take public transport. The reliance on driving is crazy in Canberra.

    i took the park and ride to the AWM archives on saturday it was perfect. also would have been perfect if i was going to epic or civic.

    the options are there, act govt need to do more to get people to use them

michael quirk 9:53 am 09 Oct 19

Yes.Fund it by cancelling the unnecessary and horrendously expensive light rail. It is a far higher priority.

Charlie Carmenu Flask Charlie Carmenu Flask 9:43 am 09 Oct 19

I have 3 pigs ready to fly...

Mark Pepper Mark Pepper 9:40 am 09 Oct 19

I think you overlook the very fickle nature of sport followers north of the Vic border Tim. And does the ACT actually ‘need’ another stadium? What I’d love is for current stadium management to be able to manage concessions and the like because the retailers sure as heck can’t.

bikhet 9:22 am 09 Oct 19

To quote from the article “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” … out of 52! And only when they’re wining. Bigger issues to address than this!

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