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Time for action on an indoor stadium in Civic

Tim Gavel 11 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
Sharon Powderly 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.

    Bethany Williams Bethany Williams 8:20 pm 13 Dec 18

    Sharon Powderly oh Shazza, the COP is awesome!

Barry Jones 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 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 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 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 Bill Jackson 4:39 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 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 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 Peter Bee 7:28 pm 12 Dec 18

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

Angus Bucknell Angus Bucknell 4:28 pm 12 Dec 18

Nah let’s get a useless tram instead

Trevor Watson Trevor Watson 4:19 pm 12 Dec 18

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

Emmac Ph Emmac Ph 3:05 pm 12 Dec 18

Money that would be better spent on our Hospitals.

Boyo Birch Boyo Birch 2:52 pm 12 Dec 18

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

Heavs 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 Justin Sevi 10:18 am 12 Dec 18

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

Stephen Roberts Stephen Roberts 10:01 am 12 Dec 18

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

Capital Retro 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 Capital Retro 9:57 am 12 Dec 18

We need more stadiums like Custer needed more Indians.

Alex Piris Alex Piris 8:41 am 12 Dec 18

The latest Canberra A-League bid proposes to play out of Canberra Stadium. Again. Craziness. We need a central stadium, close to restaurants, pubs, bars, life, atmosphere, not out in the sticks. Brings life and character to our City. Manuka oval not a bad option either.

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 9:54 am 12 Dec 18

    I'm sure they would move to the new stadium once built. The ACT gov said its only feasible if we get an A-League side.

Mary Liz Partridge Mary Liz Partridge 8:22 am 12 Dec 18

Civic pool is the only pool in the centre of town and is used by a lot of people who work there and our swimming club trains there. Why not fix it up and develop a great swimming centre. So i diaagree Harper and am on your side Bethany.

    Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 9:10 am 12 Dec 18

    If tens of thousands of people are expected to travel to Bruce to watch sport then why can't it be flipped and few hundred or so people be the ones to travel to Bruce to swim?

    Mary Liz Partridge Mary Liz Partridge 9:18 am 12 Dec 18

    Daniel Oyston really. There is already a pool at Bruce and it is very busy . You obviously aren't involved in swimming. Good to have a pool in a central location -the hole is already there fix civic pool. Only diving pool besides Lighning Ridge outside of Sydney too. You could make an excellent swimming centre there at olympic standard and add a 25m , divng equipment and a water park

    Mary Liz Partridge Mary Liz Partridge 9:18 am 12 Dec 18

    Also Daniel one at Belco.

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 9:53 am 12 Dec 18

    The ANU are planning to build a new swimming centre that will be open to the public and the ACT gov would close the current pool when it opens regardless of a stadium.

    Tony Morris Tony Morris 2:25 pm 12 Dec 18

    Mary Liz Partridge There is one on Dickson

    Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 3:19 pm 12 Dec 18

    Mary Liz Partridge what is a dividing pool?

    Elizabeth Zatschler Elizabeth Zatschler 3:56 pm 12 Dec 18

    Civic has the only diving pool in Canberra. It’s used for actual diving - yes there are those who do that in Canberra. It is also used for water polo. There are not enough pools in Canberra. For water polo we have to practice at different pools due to lack of availability. Each week my daughter trains/plays at Gungahlin, Civic, AIS and CISAC.

    Mary Liz Partridge Mary Liz Partridge 4:13 pm 12 Dec 18

    Daniel Oyston stop being sarcastic and i didn't write dividing have a read. Not all about football or cricket etc.Exactly Elizabeth . I have a friend who dives . They can only use civic pool, Lighning Ridge and SOAPAC in ALL of NSW. And ACT. We are a swimming club. There is barely enough lanes to cover all groups at times. The Dickson pool is only open during summer. A swimming club as ours and many others need an year round one. How big at ANU 25 or 50 . You really need to replace with a good one with diving facilities, wate polo facilities, swimming training facilities of an olympic standard, learn to swim. I doubt that size is being considered.

    Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 6:58 pm 12 Dec 18

    Mary Liz Partridge sorry, I mis-read. Put your claws away

    James Harvey James Harvey 7:20 pm 12 Dec 18

    Elizabeth Zatschler plenty of places to build a new stadium but you can't build another diving board?

    Mary Liz Partridge Mary Liz Partridge 10:23 pm 12 Dec 18

    Daniel Oyston sorry i prob misunderstood your meaning too. That time of the year. We are all tired.

    Bethany Williams Bethany Williams 8:26 pm 13 Dec 18

    Mary Liz Partridge and a new facility needs a beach volleyball court, too, for other activities. The COP is the only facility in Canberra that caters to the specific needs of several water sport activities. If the ACT Government wants to develop the site, so be it, but they should first ensure another facility in Canberra is equipped with the same things as the COP, so that these other groups can continue to train.

    Mary Liz Partridge Mary Liz Partridge 8:53 am 14 Dec 18

    Bethany Williams agree.

    Caroline Makin Caroline Makin 11:18 pm 14 Dec 18

    Justin Watson and that is planned to be a small 6 lane 25m pool. Not a 50m 8 or 10 lane plus a diving pit.

    Mary Liz Partridge Mary Liz Partridge 9:04 am 15 Dec 18

    Caroline Makin thanks. I suspected that. Not much parking too.

    Dory Johns Dory Johns 9:52 pm 16 Dec 18

    Justin. 25 metre pool for the ANU last I heard. That is not a suitable length for serious training. There are many serious swimmers in Canberra.

Hans Dimpel Hans Dimpel 8:15 am 12 Dec 18

I think it would be a better investment of taxpayer money to support accessibility for local -level sports-users (ACT kids, people wanting to get into sport etc).

Adam Vinning Adam Vinning 7:58 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. Putting a Stadium in Civic makes sense for many reasons, but this seems to elude the current mob.

    Dory Johns Dory Johns 10:14 pm 16 Dec 18

    Adam Vinning. And it was very spurious economic benefit claims by Barr to justify to $23 million given to GWS for their 4 games a year over 10 years.

Harper Pirsig Harper Pirsig 7:55 am 12 Dec 18

I’d love an indoor stadium on the Civic Pool sight. Once they covered the pool it was awful anyway. A stadium for top level football, of all codes, all year round, would be fantastic. And it would mean people would go to bars and restaurants before and after games in the city, so good for the local economy.

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 9:40 pm 12 Dec 18

    Harper Pirsig in the city yes, but not Civic pool!! Perhaps the Catholics could give some of their lakeside land?

    John Collis John Collis 9:20 pm 16 Dec 18

    A stadium in Civic needs to be centrally located - on the football field we taxpayers have just donated to the Raiders for a Centre of Excellence. This location is right next door to the Bus Interchange, the Light Rail terminal, city car parks and the Braddon Entertainment precinct. Civic Pool is too far from the centre to work as a stadium. And it's well used, over 100,000 visits a year. It just needs a little refurbishment to bring it back to what it should be.

    Dory Johns Dory Johns 10:10 pm 16 Dec 18

    John. Exactly. And how much do we the tax payers donate to the Greater Western Sydney AFL team? $23 million to fund four games a year at Manuka Oval over 10 years. Seems the ACT Government has plenty of money to spend on their footy of any persuasion but others sports get left out in the cold, their facilities poorly maintained so they can then claim they are past their use-by dates and need to be re-developed or better yet, given to their mates.

Bethany Williams Bethany Williams 7:31 am 12 Dec 18

I hope it doesn’t get built! It’s such a special place, and is the home of the Canberra Nippers! It would be such a shame to lose this little piece of history in the city to a stadium.

    James Harvey James Harvey 7:14 pm 12 Dec 18

    Do the nippers bring in 30,000 people?

    Bethany Williams Bethany Williams 7:52 pm 12 Dec 18

    James Harvey nope. But they don’t cost the taxpayer any money, either.

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 9:41 pm 12 Dec 18

    Bethany Williams good for you Bethany- Nippers are underrated

    Dory Johns Dory Johns 9:56 pm 16 Dec 18

    James. How often 30,000 brought in? But really, it’s not, nor should it be, about numbers only. It is a community asset for a sport that is known for its health benefits.

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