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Should the new stadium debate shift to Turner instead of Civic?

Dan Stewart 22 June 2019 180
An overlay of Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta (30,000 seats) on the Turner space to scale shows a neat fit for the proposal. Image: Supplied.

An overlay of Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta (30,000 seats) on the Turner space to scale shows a neat fit for the proposal. Image: Supplied.

It has been interesting to watch the latest round of excitement and debate that has been generated by the perennial proposal to replace our tiring stadium in Bruce with a new facility in Canberra’s CBD.

This government’s proposal to build a new stadium on the existing Civic Pool site was originally put forward as part of the much grander City to the Lake project, a master plan that seems to have fallen foul with the City Renewal Authority.

City to the Lake was to include a new mixed-use precinct and aquatic facility in West Basin, a new convention centre on City Hill, a new stadium on the existing pool site and a raft of new developments on the remaining surface car parks and surplus sites scattered through the CBD.

A significant upgrade to Parkes Way was also envisaged, lowering and shifting the existing alignment to the south, relocating Coranderrk Pond and bringing the City closer to the Lake while ensuring the preferred north-south alignment for the new stadium.

While there are a good many arguments for bringing Canberra Stadium closer to the CBD, one has to wonder whether the original vision is still relevant and realistic given the changes that we have seen since City to the Lake was first announced. For example, the various planning studies for West Basin in recent years suggest the Territory is still predisposed to development in this area, however, the new aquatic facility seems highly unlikely, raising the obvious question about a replacement for Civic Pool.

The Civic pool also requires refurbishment but how can it best meet the needs of the growing Civic population?

The University of New South Wales is also lining up a new development for the car park site opposite CIT and, if recent news is true, a good portion of the CIT site itself, and a new convention centre on City Hill seems to be falling further and further down the list of infrastructure priorities, one imagines in large part due to the price tag that was attached to the Fuksas design.

If the ACT Government is committed to bringing UNSW to City east and up to 20,000 new residents to Canberra’s CBD in the coming years, the need for a City aquatic centre is only going to grow. With this in mind, it would be timely to explore alternatives to the current proposal that might deliver similar or greater benefits (economic, social and environmental) than the original vision but with far less inconvenience and a much smaller price tag.

Consider, for example, the following proposal: develop a new City Stadium on the Turner Parklands to the north of ANU — the site is large, flat, perfectly aligned, close to light rail, well located to the RUC and new Raiders facility at Braddon, and next door to a huge and growing student population.

The existing pool site can immediately be taken to market for redevelopment with a requirement to build and operate a new publicly accessible Olympic Pool as part of the new development — the condition of Civic Pool is much worse than Canberra Stadium and it should be replaced as a matter of priority.

The need to spend many hundreds of millions of dollars on upgrading Parkes Way is eliminated, along with the many years of traffic carnage that would ensue if this major arterial was to be fully redeveloped. The government could instead significantly widen the bridges connecting Civic to Commonwealth Park and New Acton to West Basin to remove the conflict between pedestrians and cyclists and in parallel, Coranderrk Pond could be replaced with traffic lights to manage the morning and evening peaks that are currently exacerbated by the existing roundabout.

Dan Stewart has a long history in Canberra urban planning. He spent 14 years in ACT government executive positions before moving to the private sector.

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180 Responses to Should the new stadium debate shift to Turner instead of Civic?
Jason Malcolm Jason Malcolm 2:45 pm 22 Jun 19

Clare, Maddy, Shannon...imagine the delays!! Every day is delayed enough jist with the bike crossing!!

Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins 2:28 pm 22 Jun 19

We need to look at multiple sites and work out the best through and independent analysis. This could be one site, and the Civic pool site, bruce, Epic and Manuka. The analysis should consider acess to hotels, bars, restaurants etc. Also parking and public transit along with other factors. Noise impacts would be a big negative for this site.

Kerry Dent Kerry Dent 2:20 pm 22 Jun 19

Like this idea better than stadium in the city.

Julian Hayes Julian Hayes 2:10 pm 22 Jun 19

You were all quite happy to see all those tree's cut down northbourne.. and now arent happy to see a new sporting stadium that will generate revenue. How much revenue does that rainbow round about raise again? How much revenue did skywhale raise again? How much revenue do art works painted in 'Action Orange' paint raise?

    Rohan Neale Rohan Neale 8:33 am 23 Jun 19

    The trees on Northbourne were nearing their end, regardless of the light rail

Alex Piris Alex Piris 2:02 pm 22 Jun 19

Civic or continue development of Manuka oval. Pubs, restaurants close by. It’s the reason Melbourne is the sporting capital of Australia.

    Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 4:06 pm 22 Jun 19

    Alex Piris Melbourne has several stadiums set in parkland, with quick access to public transport and adjacent to the city... but not in the city.

    Dockland Stadium is the exception but it is virtually right on top of Spencer st station , at the end and junction of several tram routes and easily accessed by cars off several freeways and yet it is a total dead zone when not in use.

    We need to be smart about a future stadium. Meanwhile we need to di something about our water supply as the country dries up. We need water recycling infrastructure first.

    Michelle Smith Eggleton Michelle Smith Eggleton 9:18 am 23 Jun 19

    Alex Piris parking at Manuka oval is atrocious. Would need to build a car park as well.

    Rob Mackay Rob Mackay 12:37 am 24 Jun 19

    No point in developing Manuka for rugby, thugby and soccer... too far away from the action which leads to spectator disengagement

Tania Shaw Tania Shaw 1:59 pm 22 Jun 19

the roads in that area are bad enough at peak time as it is, adding a stadium in an area with densidfication going on would be madness - have you attended a raiders game lately and seen all the cars?

Ian Napier Ian Napier 1:48 pm 22 Jun 19

Bonkers. Why would you build a 30,000 seat stadium in a residential park when the civic pool site ticks all the boxes e.g. public transport access, large workforce and cafes and hotels near by etc.

    Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 3:59 pm 22 Jun 19

    Ian Napier no it doesn't.. not at all.

    Ian Napier Ian Napier 4:00 pm 22 Jun 19

    why not?

    Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 5:53 pm 22 Jun 19

    Ian Napier the $300 million price tag for building on the pool site is big enough to endure it is continually put off. Also where will people park? We live in a driving city, the site is also a fair walk from light rail

    Ian McTaggart Ian McTaggart 7:01 pm 22 Jun 19

    Rejuvenation of the Bruce precinct makes so much sense in terms of space and traffic management. There seems to be a confusion in this debate about how to deliver a successful all weather sporting stadium and expanding the use of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Very few stadium patrons will be wanting to utilise the latter on the same night as they attend a stadium event.

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 8:07 pm 22 Jun 19

    Ian McTaggart Except they do everywhere else in the world and the number of times it would have been nice to wander ot a cafe or bar after a game, but my friends and I decided it was too much of a pain to drive somewhere. It works in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide. It will work in Canberra.

    Ian McTaggart Ian McTaggart 9:39 pm 22 Jun 19

    Please define they!

    Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 9:41 pm 22 Jun 19

    Ian McTaggart yes that's right, they don't.

    Ian McTaggart Ian McTaggart 9:44 pm 22 Jun 19

    I would certainly not be running a business that stayed open after an event in a city stadium hoping to make money from the few people who might choose to stay behind in the city to party on.

    Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 9:46 pm 22 Jun 19

    Justin Watson yes for some it's a great thing to do and we do in Melbourne sometimes but the majority especially families head straight home.

Jacki Knight Jacki Knight 1:47 pm 22 Jun 19

I'd be be pretty pissed off if I lived next to the Turner parklands and they decided to build a bloody sports stadium there. Traffic nightmares, noise and light pollution? No thanks.

    Andrew Hope Andrew Hope 2:24 pm 22 Jun 19

    Jacki Knight Eden Park in Auckland is fantastic.

    Jacki Knight Jacki Knight 2:45 pm 22 Jun 19

    That's nice for them, but I'm talking about here.

    Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 3:58 pm 22 Jun 19

    Jacki Knight you mean like all the people who live in Manuka right now?

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 8:05 pm 22 Jun 19

    Amanda Evans Except Manuka has been there for a long time.

    Jacki Knight Jacki Knight 11:27 pm 22 Jun 19

    Manuka Oval was started in 1929, nobody could pretend that a sporting venue wouldn't get bigger or that traffic around a shopping centre wouldn't increase in time. People living peacefully in Turner near a lovely little park never would have expected someone to take away their parklands and build a sports stadium there. I think you have a straw man argument there.

Neil Gavin Neil Gavin 1:46 pm 22 Jun 19

WODEN! Run the light rail straight to it.

David Jolley David Jolley 1:46 pm 22 Jun 19

Maybe do something on the south side it seems thats the ACT government only cares about the north side of town.

    Daniel Königs Daniel Königs 3:38 pm 22 Jun 19

    South siders are used to commuting to anything interesting. Attendance would fall out the arse as north siders said it was “too far” 😂

    Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 4:00 pm 22 Jun 19

    Daniel Königs so no one goes to Manuka Oval?

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 8:49 pm 22 Jun 19

    David Jolley the city is only about 1.5km north of the population centre of Canberra. About as smack bang in the middle as you can get.

    That aside this north south stuff really gives me the shits the way people carry on. I remember growing up that Tuggeranong was getting all the new stuff, why because it was the growth area of Canberra. Gungahlin is and has been that for the past 20 years so logical Gungahlin (or THE NORTH as some would have us believe) is getting more new stuff than elsewhere. And soon with the last few suburbs about to be built Molongolo will take over. Wonder if the whingers will call it north or south as it straddles that mythical dividing body of water.

Kenrick Winchester Kenrick Winchester 1:23 pm 22 Jun 19

Build a new one in Q-Town - if Canberra doesn’t want the economic benefits we will gladly 🤘

    Gee Jay Gee Jay 1:30 pm 22 Jun 19

    Kenrick Winchester get that done!

    Mark Scott Mark Scott 1:54 pm 22 Jun 19

    Kenrick Winchester let's get public transport into the wider metropolitan area before chasing unicorns. At the moment the council can't even design a $100m road without leaving a death trap on the on roundabout merge at the Cnr of Yass, Ellerton and Bungendore in breach of Australian Road Design Rules.

    Queanbeyan is an example of the failure of Scrivener's vision for Canberra to be executed, with the Molonglo and Queanbeyan Valleys not included into ACT.

    Kenrick Winchester Kenrick Winchester 2:11 pm 22 Jun 19

    I have raised the issue with the spotlight roundabout many, many times - it falls on deaf ears mate

    Julian Hayes Julian Hayes 2:12 pm 22 Jun 19

    Mark Scott public transport WAS in the wider area.. Action which WAS the most effective bus service in the country.

Kieran Angus Kieran Angus 1:19 pm 22 Jun 19

Right on top of a flood way...

Brian Ashcroft Brian Ashcroft 1:09 pm 22 Jun 19

Dumb idea-the adjoining residents would go nuts. Civic Pool is way past its use by date, leaks badly and is falling apart-best location for new stadium

    Julian Hayes Julian Hayes 2:14 pm 22 Jun 19

    100% they have always wanted more life down that end of civic! play a game with the flag of the parliament house in view!

    Michael Langridge Michael Langridge 4:54 pm 22 Jun 19

    It would be so good to have a city stadium

    Marc Edwards Marc Edwards 8:58 am 24 Jun 19

    Brian Ashcroft maybe we could build a new civic pool there instead, indoor with a diving pool

George Lemon George Lemon 1:06 pm 22 Jun 19

Turner would have the same negatives as Bruce, no atmosphere and dining/drinking outlets. Olympic pool zone is perfect with new conference and entertainment predict across the road from it.

Michelle Smith Eggleton Michelle Smith Eggleton 1:03 pm 22 Jun 19

How about refurbish GIO stadium?

    Gee Jay Gee Jay 1:34 pm 22 Jun 19

    Michelle Smith Eggleton because it will still be in the same terrible location

    Graeme Light Graeme Light 2:12 pm 22 Jun 19

    Ahhh see if they move it to Turner or the City 'they' will be able to make a motza from parking charges and fines.

    Michelle Smith Eggleton Michelle Smith Eggleton 2:20 pm 22 Jun 19

    Gee Jay what's wrong with the location? Heaps of parking, ready access off the GDE, free buses on match days.

    Gee Jay Gee Jay 3:24 pm 22 Jun 19

    Michelle Smith Eggleton because you can't have a meal before in a restaurant and then walk to the match and then walk to have a drink at a bar afterwards. A stadium in the city would offer this which would mean a better experience for fans and a boost to businesses in the city.

    Cee Bee Cee Bee 4:27 pm 22 Jun 19

    great point Gee Jay, perhaps the option could be to develop Bruce more to have all of those things. It really is a great location but now we don’t even have Stanley’s for food/drink. Bruce is growing and some great bars and restaurants would meet a big need here, plus make up for the lack of anything similar in nearby Belconnen.

    Plenty of room for hospitality growth, although preferably not a Westfield-type model, more a bunch of independents

    Tony Morris Tony Morris 4:55 pm 22 Jun 19

    Michelle Smith Eggleton A new stadium is a must, but not in Bruce. There is absolutely nothing to do prior a game nor after a game. Think of all the jobs and tax revenues if they build it in Civic. I for 1 can vouch if I said to my partner lets go to the footy, have dinner/lunch she would be in like flint. Hates the footy but loves a night/day out.

    Ian McTaggart Ian McTaggart 7:03 pm 22 Jun 19

    Michelle Smith Eggleton perfect location.

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 8:11 pm 22 Jun 19

    GIO would need a rebuild so cost is going to be the same everywhere its built. Just adding a roof to Bruce would be 200 million without any improvement to anything else in the stadium, so a new stadium is a must and its easier to manage if its on a different site.

Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 12:55 pm 22 Jun 19

How about Capitol Hill?

May Day May Day 12:55 pm 22 Jun 19

The pool is our flipping heritage. Fix it and Leave it alone, geez?!?

Neil Hansen Neil Hansen 12:46 pm 22 Jun 19

Yep, plenty of parking and light rail there.

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 12:38 pm 22 Jun 19

How about Yarralumla, or Forrest.

    Jp Romano Jp Romano 1:11 pm 22 Jun 19

    Gabriel Spacca we’ve got Manuka oval already...

agent_clone 10:45 am 22 Jun 19

I can see two main issues with where you have that picture.

1) Noise and the existing residents in that area. If you look on the map at Bruce stadium there is a significant space between it and other housing). There is no barrier between that stadium overlay and residents.

2) Flooding. Sullivans creek is known to flood, that overlay is through the creek. There are probably also environmental issues with that as well with water quality.

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