18 March 2021

Probing the polls: coat of arms questions and a $500 million potential stadium cost

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Canberra stadium

Do we need a new stadium in Canberra? Photo: Supplied.

Do we need a new coat of arms? Do we need a coat of arms at all? Many RiotACT readers don’t think so.

The city of Canberra has a longstanding coat of arms featuring various heraldic devices, including a castle and crossed swords. It was originally commissioned for HMAS Canberra. It’s often been used in lieu of a Territory symbol and it sits on the ACT’s flag.

Now there are plans afoot for an ACT coat of arms. A community reference panel will consider what to include as part of a consultation process intended to bring the ACT into line with all states and territories with our own coat of arms.

The reference group is seeking people with experience in heraldry, Ngunnawal culture and history, people with design backgrounds and expertise relating to coats of arms or insignias. The group will also work with students from the University of Canberra’s Arts and Design faculty to design prototypes.

But there were plenty of commenters who thought the entire notion of a coat of arms was a waste of time and money.

We asked, Do we need an ACT coat of arms at all? A total of 885 readers responded. Your choice was to vote Yes, it’s a link with the past and an independent symbol of our city. This received 33 per cent of the total, or 288 votes. Alternatively, you could vote No, it’s a bit of outdated nonsense. This received 67 per cent of the total, or 597 votes.

This week, we’re wondering how you feel about the plans for a new stadium.

A long-running issue here in Canberra, the new stadium’s cost is now estimated at more than half a billion dollars depending on the design chosen. Preferred sites are either EPIC or the Civic pool.

READ ALSO Civic or EPIC stadium kicks off at half a billion dollars, says report

A study commissioned by the government shows that a city stadium seating 25,000 people would be the cheaper option, but Chief Minister Andrew Barr says that building the stadium won’t become a priority until 2025 or later and that Bruce has life left in it for a while yet.

Currently, the government’s major infrastructure priority is the new Canberra Theatre, replacing a building constructed in 1965 when the city’s population was less than 100,000. A new theatre could also be used on a continuous basis by multiple community groups.

The Civic stadium site comes with several challenges, including changes to the National Capital Plan to enable a roof height of more than 25 metres and a potential realignment of Parkes Way. There would also be no parking on-site, and users would need to access the stadium via public transport or use existing city car parks.

But proponents point out that the existing facilities at Bruce are tired and that without a new stadium, it’s unlikely Canberra could attract major events, including Rugby World Cup games.

Our question this week is:

Do we need a new Civic stadium at the cost of half a billion dollars?

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We don’t need a football stadium. We don’t need more taxpayer money spent on even more male oriented activities. Many of us are fed up with the sexist ACT government not catering to what the majority of females want and need.

If there is to be a stadium on the site of the Olympic Pool, then at least keep the diving tower which my father was the engineer for and which won design awards at the time.

Maybe we can put up a heap of tents in the new stadium and use it as a camp site between footy games to help homeless people have a place to sleep.

ChrisinTurner2:29 pm 18 Mar 21

How can you say this is an eye watering cost when it is a quarter of the cost of replacing rubber tyres with steel wheels on public transport between Civic and Woden.

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