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Time for action on an indoor stadium in Civic

By Tim Gavel 12 December 2018 60

What will become of GIO Stadium if an indoor stadium is built in Civic? File photo.

I have been approached by a number of people with their vision for the much-touted indoor stadium, which has been proposed for the Civic Olympic Swimming Pool site.

One proposal had detailed drawings, which had the new stadium as part of a bigger complex including a new convention centre. Another, from StadiArena, had a detailed analysis on how a 30,000-seat stadium in Civic could be financed without being a burden on government coffers.

Interestingly, there has been little in the way, publicly at least, of a vision for the proposed new stadium from the ACT Government in recent times.

I am not sure if the whole project has been deemed as too hard, too expensive, or no longer a priority – if, in fact, it ever was.

A few years ago it appeared to be full steam ahead. There was even a proposed timeline. But it appears to be one step forward on this proposed project and two steps back.

One reason proffered was the diversion of funds to finance the Mr Fluffy crisis, and then there was a focus on funding light rail. There was also an indication that a new stadium was not a priority with a new Canberra theatre ahead on the pecking order. Then there emerged a proviso that we needed an A-League side for the stadium to be viable.

This was followed by the news that commencement was dependant on the Commonwealth off-loading Canberra Stadium to the ACT Government. The reasoning behind this was, if the ACT Government owned Canberra Stadium, it would then have the option of selling the Bruce site to developers and using the funds to help finance the new indoor stadium.

It is hard to see anything happening anytime soon and the longer a decision is delayed on building a new stadium in Civic, the more expensive it will be. The proposed cost of 350 million dollars will seem inexpensive by the time it is eventually built.

In the meantime, new stadiums have been built or are in the planning stage in centres such as Newcastle, Townsville, Melbourne, Moore Park in Sydney and Parramatta.

I guess my argument is that if there is a solid proposal, which embraces private investment in the project, it should be considered. I don’t believe the entire project should be financed with government funding. Far from it! What we need though, is an indication that a proposed indoor stadium is still on the radar.

Do you think a new stadium should be built in Civic? Comment below.


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60 Responses to
Time for action on an indoor stadium in Civic
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michael quirk 7:18 am 18 Dec 18

Fund it by not extending the light rail to Woden as that transport task can be easily handled by buses, given the rapid improvements in electric bus technology.

bigred 6:41 am 18 Dec 18

I must say I am looking forward to the day I can catch the light rail to the city indoor stadium to watch events such as NRL games, Brumbles games and those one off sporting and music events such a venue will surely attract. Currently, it has to be a game involving some special team to get me out to Canberra Stadium because it is such a haul, either on a over crowded bus or the mad rush to park in the dust bowl and participate in the exit grand prix.

Dory Johns 9:48 pm 16 Dec 18

Leave the Civic Pool alone. It is not past it’s use-by-date. Put some money into decent maintenance.

Harper Pirsig 9:59 pm 12 Dec 18

What about the ovals and green space across from the ANU, the other side of Barry Drive, running along McCaughey Street, Turner, is a huge space, and 5 minute walk from the CBD and new light rail? A compromise option in the city centre.

Margaret Freemantle 9:47 pm 12 Dec 18

Why can’t we have a new indoor stadium centrally located(a no brainer for the Canberra climate) and retain the Civic pool . There is room for both

Capital Retro 9:12 pm 12 Dec 18

Population of Adelaide is now over 1.3 million. Canberra is just over 400,000.

Sharon Powderly 8:51 pm 12 Dec 18

You only have to visit Adelaide to see what a great bonus to the Canberra economy and social scene it would be for the stadium to be in the City. Civic Pool was past it’s use by date 20 years ago when I used to sit there while my daughter did swim lessons- freezing in winter and a sauna in summer.

Barry Jones 7:00 pm 12 Dec 18

The site is not big enough for a stadium. Even the concept drawings had no seats at one end of the ground. And where will people park?

Capital Retro 5:54 pm 12 Dec 18

Cost of ticket to a concert at the Canberra Theatre is about $100.

Cost of ticket to a NRL, ARU or VFL is match about $30.

Yes, the arts are paying their way with few government subsidies.

    bj_ACT 7:32 pm 17 Dec 18

    I think the difference in pricing between theatre and football is due to crowd size, crowd socioeconomic, seat comfort, television coverage and other factors before Government funding actually comes into play as a factor.

    Capital Retro 10:34 pm 17 Dec 18

    So, please tell me the full story about the government’s reason for paying $700K to GWS every time they play here. None of the players who appear at Manuka even live in Canberra for goodness sake.

    Who gets the ticket sales proceeds, how much are they etc. What is the value to the ACT .?

    There may be a hard core fan base of 5,000 odd people who think it is wonderful but where is the wider benefit, if any?

    Also, who funded the conversion of the National Convention Centre to a basketball venue for the Canberra Capitals? How much did this cost and why aren’t they pulling full houses?

    I don’t think the shows at the Canberra Theatres are subsided in any way by the government – the risk is all the promoter’s and the performer’s. The ACT government has given up to $500K of ratepayers’ money to NGA “blockbuster” art shows but I don’t think that is still happening.

    I believe government spending on sport is way over the top in Canberra. Sport is all about money these days and the writing on the wall was the FFA ‘s decision last week to ignore Canberra’s bid for a Canberra based A League team. The reason was was simply because there cannot be enough “bums in seats” to support it. Sport is no longer about what the enthusiasts want so take note Mr Barr.

Bill Jackson 4:41 pm 12 Dec 18

Gee an indoor stadium. What a thought. Might actually attract some decent concerts and see us spending our entertainment dollars here rather than Sydney, Melbourne or even Wollongong.

Peter Bee 4:37 pm 12 Dec 18

Time for the football codes to pay for it. The raiders and brumbies aren’t leaving why do taxpayers pay for it again?

    Tony Morris 5:34 pm 12 Dec 18

    Peter Bee yeah just like the new Canberra theater should be paid for by the arts. Fmd wake up to yourself.

    Peter Bee 7:28 pm 12 Dec 18

    Tony Morris yeah i need the wake up. Secondly in this country its theatre.

Angus Bucknell 4:28 pm 12 Dec 18

Nah let’s get a useless tram instead

Tramcar Trev 4:19 pm 12 Dec 18

Maybe we need an indoor sports venue with light rail underneath it...

Emmac Ph 3:05 pm 12 Dec 18

Money that would be better spent on our Hospitals.

Birchy Bircho 2:52 pm 12 Dec 18

It’s a fail because we have spent millions on a Tram. A 🚃 gee. What a fail

Heavs 10:29 am 12 Dec 18

Wasn’t the issue with the proposed site that it was running the wrong direction for optimal grass growth. Canberra Stadium has probably the best surface in the country (for all the other faults) – we don’t want to go back to the circa 1999 days of painting the dirt green.

Any move to re-orientate it would necessitate a major infrastructure works around that large roundabout on Parkes Way. If you’re looking for developer buy in why not flip it on it’s head and offer up EPIC – ‘build us a stadium with these specs on the site of the trotting track and you can have x hectares around the site to develop housing and bars/cafes etc.’ It’s one way to further activate that part of hte light rail line as well.

Justin Sevi 10:19 am 12 Dec 18

Too old to be watching sport in winter at our antiquated stadium.

Stephen Roberts 10:01 am 12 Dec 18

"too hard, too expensive, or no longer a priority" - all of the above.

Capital Retro 10:00 am 12 Dec 18

“The ACT Government is only interested in sports (and associated developments) when they can make a buck out of it, hence the GWS and Manuka Oval.”

How are they making any money when the pay GWS $700K every time they play there?

There is also the massive tax-payer funded capital investment that has taken place there.

Capital Retro 9:57 am 12 Dec 18

We need more stadiums like Custer needed more Indians.

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