9 February 2024

Will a new Canberra Stadium be built in my lifetime? Canberrans should be sceptical

| Tim Gavel
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Civic stadium render

Imagining a new Civic stadium – is this the closest we will get? Photo: GHDWoodhead.

In 2009, there was cause for optimism when the proposal for a new stadium to be built on the Civic Olympic Pool site was first mooted.

It was part of the grand plan to link the city to the lake, taking advantage of the Civic nightlife with its restaurants and bars.

The proposal included a 25,000-seat covered stadium similar to the one built in Dunedin.

That seems like a lifetime ago as obstacle after obstacle was provided as evidence against building the stadium on the Civic Olympic Pool site.

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The cost of moving Parkes Way, concern about the size of the pool site to accommodate a new stadium, concern about whether the grass would grow under a roof … these were just some of the obstacles. Should it be built for just two sporting codes? We need an A-League Men’s team to make it viable. We can’t afford it because of Mr Fluffy compensation and the cost of the tram. These were the issues raised and debated.

Over the years, the concept of a new stadium slipped down the priority list.

Seemingly to appease those campaigning for a new stadium to replace the aged facility at Bruce, there has been an endless run of feasibility studies into potential sites.

There’s been the possibility of the pool site, Exhibition Park, a site in Turner, the footprint of the existing stadium at Bruce, while the latest is the site of the Raiders’ former headquarters on the corner of Hayden Drive and Battye Street.

So many kites flown, so many studies.

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As a community, we are now suffering from a condition known as ‘Canberra Stadium feasibility study fatigue’.

This week’s announcement of what has been described as technical due diligence on the current footprint of Canberra Stadium at Bruce will do nothing to prevent this recurring affliction.

This week’s announcement also includes a study into the Convention Centre site, with plans for a pavilion catering to music and major indoor sports.

AIS Arena

AIS Arena needs more than a little TLC. Photo: Tim Gavel.

At the same time, money is being spent to get the AIS Arena operational, and the University of Canberra is seeking funding to build its own indoor sports stadium.

At the moment, in Canberra, there is plenty of talk about building sports stadiums but very little action. The community can only be rightly sceptical about anything happening in the short to long term.

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Brawny Polecat10:01 am 12 Feb 24

If we get an A-League team, that might make a brand new stadium financially viable, assuming the Brumbies survive.
City Hill is there for the taking now that the bunnies have been killed off. You don’t get much more central than that.
3 or 4 levels of car parking underneath would help pay for it.

Capital Retro1:32 pm 12 Feb 24

McKellar Park, the home of Belconnen United FC can currently hold 3,500 spectators which is more that adequate for any A League soccer matches.

Obvious best site is City Hill
Currently a useless, ugly hillock, recently occupied by rabbits, rarely used or visited by Humans, plenty of space, location-location-location, build underground parking for some, close to bars, restaurants and esp public transport and it could be an outstanding sporting, tourist, cultural centre.
Provably could co-locate the convention centre there with some innovative designing.
Could be a multi event usable asset.
Call it the Barr-Dome and it will be built.

Building anywhere else out of the CBD is doomed to be a ghost venue

Capital Retro5:40 pm 11 Feb 24


Solid Gold!

fridgemagnet3:33 pm 11 Feb 24

Stop propping up horse racing and build the stadium on the Thoroughbred Park site

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