11 December 2018

Time for action on an indoor stadium in Civic

| Tim Gavel
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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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michael quirk7:18 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.

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.

Capital Retro11:11 am 18 Dec 18

Queuing up to then stand in a tram ain’t fun either.

Capital Retro9:12 pm 12 Dec 18

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

Capital Retro5:54 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.

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 Retro10:34 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.

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.

Capital Retro10:00 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 Retro9:57 am 12 Dec 18

We need more stadiums like Custer needed more Indians.

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