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Time for a rethink on Manuka Oval plan

By Greg Cornwell - 17 May 2016 13

Manuka Oval

The Manuka Green proposed development continues with more ducking and weaving than a prize fighter.

What began as 1000 apartments has been cut to 650, nine storey units down to seven, basement car parking increased to 1620 spaces and total costs have fallen from $800 million to $550 million.

A number of physical changes to the plans also have been listed to what was and still is an unsolicited bid to the ACT Government offering to upgrade iconic Manuka Oval.

The changes to the original plan are considerable and one wonders if the first announcement was an ambit claim or whether the angry reaction of the Canberra community (including a public meeting of 350 people) to an interstate makeover didn’t force a rethink by the Giants and Grocon.

The ACT Government was quick to distance itself from actual development until at least 2019 after our first international cricket Test. Doubtless the 2016 October ACT Assembly election influenced the decision, although 2019 puts it close to the 2020 campaign. Charybdis and Scylla perhaps?

There are dark hints about Stage One of the unsolicited bid process being passed but it is difficult to see how the next two stages and the required variation to the Territory Plan should be achieved quickly given the government’s three year delay commitment.

Why distance yourself then risk destroying this advantage by ticking off all the development boxes so far in advance? The Giants/Grocon in answer to the obvious states the timing for construction is yet to be determined.

Reading through answers to FAQs on the Manuka Green website is unimpressive.

That the new development is to “enhance visitors and player experience” doesn’t do anything for the locals, while attracting more elite sporting events to Canberra surely would only be successful if they could use the oval. Improving the local amenity through landscaped green spaces and (shudder) public art is nothing new here and the integration of Manuka shops and the Kingston foreshores is open to doubt.

How many footy fans are going shopping in local boutiques and dining in the neighbourhood’s fine restaurants? Do we need more cafes and takeaways? The answers also do not address a crucial question still not covered: car parking for the visitors to the oval.

Prime among the benefits of Manuka Green, according to the website, is the old standby of a boost to the ACT economy through investment, jobs and tourism.

Surely these advantages would accrue wherever a new stadium or oval was built? Bruce Stadium was sold on much the same spin and it doesn’t sit in inner Canberra.

If we need another oval we should build it at, say, Symonston or another greenfields site on the edge of town. The punters would still come, investment, jobs and tourism would still occur (providing our teams kept winning!).

I’m loath to promote major expenditure we can’t afford but it would be preferable to the destruction of the village green beside Canberra Avenue.

If it stacks up GWS/Grocon should move the proposal to elsewhere in the ACT.

What’s Your opinion?


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13 Responses to
Time for a rethink on Manuka Oval plan
Wayne_k 7:50 pm 24 May 16

Canberra’s planning was more thoughtful under the NCDC. Self government was supposed to be democratic not plutocratic. ACT ICAC now!

dungfungus 9:52 am 19 May 16

gooterz said :

How did GWS get this primo deal at Manuka oval ?

Labor’s mates network.

gazket 7:38 pm 18 May 16

gooterz said :

How did GWS get this primo deal at Manuka oval ?

Looks to be overkill for Manuka. There would be better places for it in Canberra.

gazket 7:20 pm 18 May 16

How did GWS get this primo deal at Manuka oval ?

dungfungus 5:09 pm 18 May 16

switch said :

rommeldog56 said :

madelini said :

I said this the last time an article came up about this topic.
Putting the stadium on the outskirts of the city (even in Bruce) will drastically effect attendance, you only need to look at the Adelaide Oval redevelopment to see how putting the stadium in the heart of the city got more people going to matches.
You say “How many fans will eat in the areas fine restaurants?” Quite a lot I would imagine, being a football fan and enjoying fine dining are not mutually exclusive. Retail may not see a direct benefit but having more foot traffic never hurt a business.

Parking is still a big problem which is why I always get the bus.

You say punters will still come if the stadium was put on the outskirts of the city, or some out of the way location, but AMMI stadium in Adelaide shows that, no they won’t.

Perhaps at the southern end of the tramline, towards the Lake – and then all that lovely land at Manuka could be freed up for other exciting uses…..

I’m not fussed whether this project, or something like it, goes ahead or not just pointing out the build it and they will come proposal in the article has been proven to be false.

Adelaide Crows average attendance 2013 (last year at AAMI stadium): 33612
Adelaide Crows average attendance 2014 (first year at Adelaide Oval): 48046
http://afltables.com/afl/crowds/adelaide.html

A large increase due to a central location and proximity to other entertainment options (cafes, bars, even the neighbourhoods fine restaurants).

Canberra has rarely been able to attract a crowd in excess of 25,000 for an occasssional Rugby final (NRL finals will never be played here) and the bst AFL crowd at Manuka has been about 15,000 (resident fact-checker JC will review that).
An occasional first class cricket or soccer match pulls about 10,000 but anecdotal evidence suggests half the tickets are free ones anyhow.
So, whatever size arena they build in Canberra, it will not be supported by a commensurate increase in crowds.
It’s the same principle as the totally not-needed and unviable tram project.
Canberra was designed for 500,000 and that figure has been almost reached.
The next ACT government will have its hands full upgrading the West Belconnen Waste Treatment works which was only designed for 500,000. The same government will have to also find another land fill as the one at Mugga Lane is filling twice as fast as estimated.
Why is it so necessary for Canberra to grow and expand?

zander 9:41 am 18 May 16

rommeldog56 said :

madelini said :

I said this the last time an article came up about this topic.
Putting the stadium on the outskirts of the city (even in Bruce) will drastically effect attendance, you only need to look at the Adelaide Oval redevelopment to see how putting the stadium in the heart of the city got more people going to matches.
You say “How many fans will eat in the areas fine restaurants?” Quite a lot I would imagine, being a football fan and enjoying fine dining are not mutually exclusive. Retail may not see a direct benefit but having more foot traffic never hurt a business.

Parking is still a big problem which is why I always get the bus.

You say punters will still come if the stadium was put on the outskirts of the city, or some out of the way location, but AMMI stadium in Adelaide shows that, no they won’t.

Perhaps at the southern end of the tramline, towards the Lake – and then all that lovely land at Manuka could be freed up for other exciting uses…..

I’m not fussed whether this project, or something like it, goes ahead or not just pointing out the build it and they will come proposal in the article has been proven to be false.

Adelaide Crows average attendance 2013 (last year at AAMI stadium): 33612
Adelaide Crows average attendance 2014 (first year at Adelaide Oval): 48046
http://afltables.com/afl/crowds/adelaide.html

A large increase due to a central location and proximity to other entertainment options (cafes, bars, even the neighbourhoods fine restaurants).

dungfungus 8:39 am 18 May 16

devils_advocate said :

John Moulis said :

HenryBG said :

I don’t know why they don’t direct the effort at Phillip Oval and the precinct. Close to transport, shops, parking etc. Seems smarter than cramming more into Manuka.

That was proposed about 30 years ago, before self-government was inflicted on us.
It makes more sense than ever now.

Barr can’t see that farr. Civic seems to be Barr’s limit of going south.

About as far south as the Terminal Container Village.

gooterz 1:31 am 18 May 16

John Moulis said :

HenryBG said :

I don’t know why they don’t direct the effort at Phillip Oval and the precinct. Close to transport, shops, parking etc. Seems smarter than cramming more into Manuka.

That was proposed about 30 years ago, before self-government was inflicted on us.
It makes more sense than ever now.

Barr can’t see that farr. Civic seems to be Barr’s limit of going south.

dungfungus 6:51 pm 17 May 16

HenryBG said :

I don’t know why they don’t direct the effort at Phillip Oval and the precinct. Close to transport, shops, parking etc. Seems smarter than cramming more into Manuka.

That was proposed about 30 years ago, before self-government was inflicted on us.
It makes more sense than ever now.

HiddenDragon 6:07 pm 17 May 16

madelini said :

I said this the last time an article came up about this topic.
Putting the stadium on the outskirts of the city (even in Bruce) will drastically effect attendance, you only need to look at the Adelaide Oval redevelopment to see how putting the stadium in the heart of the city got more people going to matches.
You say “How many fans will eat in the areas fine restaurants?” Quite a lot I would imagine, being a football fan and enjoying fine dining are not mutually exclusive. Retail may not see a direct benefit but having more foot traffic never hurt a business.

Parking is still a big problem which is why I always get the bus.

You say punters will still come if the stadium was put on the outskirts of the city, or some out of the way location, but AMMI stadium in Adelaide shows that, no they won’t.

Perhaps at the southern end of the tramline, towards the Lake – and then all that lovely land at Manuka could be freed up for other exciting uses…..

bobzed57 5:25 pm 17 May 16

I don’t know why they don’t direct the effort at Phillip Oval and the precinct. Close to transport, shops, parking etc. Seems smarter than cramming more into Manuka.

gooterz 4:19 pm 17 May 16

Lets put the tram on hold and put all resources into doing this in 2 years

zander 1:29 pm 17 May 16

I said this the last time an article came up about this topic.
Putting the stadium on the outskirts of the city (even in Bruce) will drastically effect attendance, you only need to look at the Adelaide Oval redevelopment to see how putting the stadium in the heart of the city got more people going to matches.
You say “How many fans will eat in the areas fine restaurants?” Quite a lot I would imagine, being a football fan and enjoying fine dining are not mutually exclusive. Retail may not see a direct benefit but having more foot traffic never hurt a business.

Parking is still a big problem which is why I always get the bus.

You say punters will still come if the stadium was put on the outskirts of the city, or some out of the way location, but AMMI stadium in Adelaide shows that, no they won’t.

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