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.