Reignited stadium debate has more than a touch of deja vu

Tim Gavel 11 February 2020 41
Brumbies playing the Rebels at Canberra Stadium

The Brumbies and the Rebels drew a small crowd to Canberra Stadium last weekend. Photo: Tim Gavel.

There’s more than a touch of déjà vu with the ACT Government revealing in its mid-year budget review that $200,000 has been allocated for a feasibility study into the location of the proposed new indoor sports stadium.

It seems as though we’ve been through this process before, with the Civic pool site deemed the preferred location for the new home of the Raiders and the Brumbies.

But just when you thought the issue had been settled, obstacles emerged.

The Commonwealth has delayed its decision on what will happen to the AIS site on which Canberra Stadium is positioned. It’s currently costing $350,000 a year to rent the stadium from the Commonwealth. Understandably, the ACT Government is reluctant to spend money on a rented facility nearing the end of its existence.

Funding, of course, became tight for the ACT with considerable budget expenditure allocated to Mr Fluffy and the light rail. And then came the caveat that Canberra would need to have an A-League team to make a new stadium viable.

Given the issues facing the A-League as a whole, I wouldn’t be holding my breath.

More recently, there have been concerns about Parkes Way and the positioning of a rectangular stadium on the reasonably small pool site. This was before Exhibition Park emerged as an option, as well as the possibility of building on the existing Canberra Stadium site at Bruce.

You can’t help feeling as though we are going around in circles with this whole process.

Exhibition Park entered consideration because light rail could transport fans to and from the stadium.

But light rail was also one of the reasons the Civic option was attractive. Civic is also close to restaurants and bars, so the economic benefits would extend beyond the sporting event itself.

Across the world, the trend is for sports stadiums to be located within a city precinct. An exception was the construction of the Olympic Stadium in Sydney, but a civic precinct is now being developed around the Olympic Stadium, rather than the other way around.

Both the Raiders and the Brumbies have made clear their preference for the Civic pool site.

But what about the fans? Will they be consulted in the process? It would seem obvious that people upon whose support the viability of the stadium will be crucial should be part of the process as well as those who use Civic pool.

I just hope that once the feasibility report is finalised that there is more certainty on a timeframe for construction.

Canberra’s sports fans deserve it.


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41 Responses to Reignited stadium debate has more than a touch of deja vu
Leigh Poidevin Leigh Poidevin 8:28 pm 18 Feb 20

Give it a face lift

Leigh Poidevin Leigh Poidevin 8:28 pm 18 Feb 20

Leave it where it is do Bruce stadium up call it Bruce Raiders stadium

Kevin Greaves Kevin Greaves 5:50 am 16 Feb 20

But the money into the tch

Benjamin Rose Benjamin Rose 1:43 pm 14 Feb 20

A City Stadium would easily be the worst planning decision in Canberra history if executed.

Renovate Bruce Stadium in stages like the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Mark Flynn Mark Flynn 5:14 pm 13 Feb 20

I thinkTCH is more in need of the money.

JS9 JS9 12:38 pm 13 Feb 20

I didn’t miss the irony of suggesting ‘when the feasibility study’ is finalised, that the key outcome is certainty on a ‘timeframe for construction’. Surely a feasibility study should be about whether something is actually ‘feasible’ I would of though – I do not consider at all that the feasibility of a new stadium has actually been firmly established, nor whether it stacks up on a cost benefit basis.

James Prest James Prest 9:39 am 13 Feb 20

First World problems. Just renovate AIS Bruce Stadium ? Or are we trying to emulate Glady's NSW blunders ?

Caroline Ambrus Caroline Ambrus 6:44 am 13 Feb 20

How about housing the homeless instead.

Nell Feneck Nell Feneck 4:50 am 13 Feb 20

It’s an election year - of course act labor want to build a stadium 🤣😂

Alistair Nitz Alistair Nitz 11:13 pm 12 Feb 20

A new stadium will go the same why as the cinema in Gungahlin. Every election labor with dust off the plans but no boots ever hit the ground.

Gary Hatcliffe Gary Hatcliffe 10:06 pm 12 Feb 20

The sleepy hollow that is Civic needs this.

Robyn Holder Robyn Holder 8:37 pm 12 Feb 20

Stadiums should be built with sports teams money with land they bought.

Jim Roy Jim Roy 8:08 pm 12 Feb 20

A precinct is a great idea but we don’t have the infrastructure.

City makes more sense especially given the density increase in the inner north & south and the light rail nodes.

Stephen Mee Stephen Mee 3:45 pm 12 Feb 20

Why is there a need for a new stadium. Are the residents who moved into the area after it was built complaining about the noise.

Phil Hopkins Phil Hopkins 12:13 pm 12 Feb 20

Queanbeyan 😀😆😉

Darren Sault Darren Sault 9:54 am 12 Feb 20

New ice rink first, please......

Alison Gerrard Alison Gerrard 9:41 am 12 Feb 20

Leave it where it is and do it up. Cheaper and plenty of parking.

Marco Spaccavento Marco Spaccavento 9:39 am 12 Feb 20

Why do we need a new/another stadium?

    Ben Jones Ben Jones 7:38 pm 12 Feb 20

    Marco Spaccavento so you haven’t been to Canberra stadium then .. ?

Mary Liz Partridge Mary Liz Partridge 9:04 am 12 Feb 20

What about the swimming fans and all the aquatic clubs that use the pool all year round? We dont matter...

    Adam Hewat Adam Hewat 3:18 pm 12 Feb 20

    Mary Liz Partridge the Pool has been on the cards to be shut for a very long time. It has been leaking for years and the cost to repair is just not feasible.

    Mary Liz Partridge Mary Liz Partridge 4:52 pm 12 Feb 20

    Adam Hewat it is used a lot and many clubs use it. There are only 2 pools outside of Sydney that have diving facilities and civic is one of them. You could actually improve it and make it a top facility that could be used for national and state events. You could put a water park in too. The pool hole is already there . Also it is the only decent sized pool in civic. The one at ANU is too small and expensive entry fee. We use it as many others all year round.

Karen Joy Stone Nowak Karen Joy Stone Nowak 9:00 am 12 Feb 20

Why not consider a new stadium somewhere near EPIC??? It's right on the Tramline and other public transport. People could park at Civic and tram to the event. It also has existing parking infrastructure. Being that the showground is already there there should be no noise or light issues with nearby residents. Placing it at Civic is not an answer.

    Mal Briggs Mal Briggs 10:05 am 12 Feb 20

    Karen Joy Stone Nowak how would parking in Civic and tramming to EPIC make more sense than parking in Civic and walking to a civic stadium?

    Ideally, everyone would leave their cars at home and tram to the stadium. Alternatively, you could park at EPIC and tram into the city.

    And as someone who lives across the road from EPIC, and deals with Summernats noise every year, I'd question whether there is less noise issue there than there would be in Civic nestled between 'mostly' office buildings.

    Karen Joy Stone Nowak Karen Joy Stone Nowak 10:53 am 12 Feb 20

    Mal Briggs ... Can't tram from home if you live South of Civic. I was thinking more for the people that don't have Tram access. If you can halve the amount of people that might need to park at an event, that's a good start in my books. Bit daft travelling from Tuggeranong to EPIC to park your car, and then tramming to Civic!!!

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