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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Perth's new $1b stadium to attract Comm Games & World Athletic Champs

Perth's new $1b stadium to attract Comm Games & World Athletic Champs

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Perth's new $1b stadium to attract Comm Games & World Athletic Champs 1_Article_Burswood-Stadium-420x0
Artist impression of a stadium at Burswood.

Perth enters big league with $1b stadium to transform sporting culture

By Courtney Trenwith
WA today website
June 28, 2011

Perth's sporting facilities are about to enter the big league.

A $1 billion project to build the nation's third largest and most technologically advanced stadium at Burswood, announced by the government yesterday, is intended to transform the city's sporting culture.

Players have been promised "an extraordinary experience", while fans can expect an entirely new interaction, from the way they travel to the stadium to how they view the game.

The 60,000-seat facility, with the capacity to expand to 70,000, will put Perth in the frontline to participate in international events hosted in Australia, such as the soccer and rugby world cups, while placing it in contention to bid on its own for coups such as the Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championships.

It may also boost the likelihood of a rugby league team forming in the west.

While AFL will be the centre-point of the new facility, major games of all sporting codes would likely be scheduled there, including the Ashes and 20/20 cricket as well as soccer finals.

Due to open in time for the 2018 AFL season kick-off, the stadium precinct also has the potential to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the state.

AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said the new Gold Coast stadium proved tens of thousands of people would flock from the eastern states to experience the modern facility.

Premier Colin Barnett confirmed the much anticipated location of the stadium yesterday, choosing Burswood over Subiaco and East Perth because of its potential to re-energise the city's east.

The project will cost $700 million for the stadium - given the working name Perth Stadium - plus $300 million for additional transport infrastructure, and will represent an historical turning point in Perth's sporting culture.

"This is the biggest single investment in sporting and entertainment infrastructure in WA history," Mr Barnett said.

"The stadium, when complete, will be second only in size to the MCG and the Sydney Olympic Stadium and it will be a world-class facility that this state will be proud of. The sporting men and women who will use it, I think they'll find it to be an extraordinary experience and the design, I think, will provide superb facilities for spectators."

A "superb" spectator experience
The stadium will reflect the style of the highly regarded Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, whose seating design is praised for the intimacy it provides more fans.

"It will be tiered on top of itself like a wedding cake, giving very, very close views for the public," Mr Barnett said.

"There will also be a high emphasis on the comfort and facilities for spectators in terms of the seating plan, of seat size, of seats and facilities at the back of the stadium."

Sport and Recreation Minister Terry Waldron said there would be retractable seating, despite problems at Etihad, to allow the field to be redrawn as an oval or rectangle.

The Perth stadium would be the first to feature a lighting system that could dress the arena in the home team's colours.

It has not yet been decided whether Etihad's revolutionary lighting system that simulates sunlight and generates warmth will be adopted.

Unlike Etihad's retractable roof, the Perth stadium will not be covered.

Poor soil quality means there also will not be an underground car park. Drivers will be expected to park in one of the CBD's multi-storey car parks and walk across a purpose-built pedestrian bridge over the Swan River.

But the government expects up to 70 per cent of visitors to use public transport and will build a special events, four-platform train station that will service all of the city's four train lines.

"So it will be a very different environment for going to the football and other events," Mr Barnett said.

West Coast Eagles' and Fremantle Dockers' supporters also will be cheering because the additional 18,000 seats compared to Subiaco's Paterson's Stadium will allow the clubs to address their years-long membership waiting lists.

Thousands more non-members also will be able to attend games, with general admission expanding, and more seats for inter-state rivals.

"There will be seating allocations for visiting teams so we don't just stick them behind the goals at the western end; we'll look after them a bit better," Mr Barnett said.

Concerns the oval will sink
The Burswood location has been criticised for its poor soil quality, which has already caused the WA Tennis Centre to begin to sink.

Only preliminary geo-technical assessments have been carried out at the site, with no drilling.

Mr Barnett said 30-metre pylons would be sunk into the ground to support the stadium, at a cost of $30 million.

He guaranteed it would hold up.

"I assure you it's not going to sink," he said. "We know enough to know there's no risk to the project."

Revitalising East Perth
While the Burswood site presently lacks the bustling entertainment vibe of Subiaco, cafes and bars will be encouraged to establish there as part of the East Perth revitalisation project.

"[The Burswood site] offers the potential over years to come to have a new stadium as the centre-piece of a wider and broader entertainment and sports precinct," Mr Barnett said.

"It is part of a plan to develop Perth as a vibrant capital city."

The stadium will become a focal point for the revitalisation vision, which also includes water front development.

However, the decision to build the stadium at Burswood means the golf course is almost certain to disappear by 2018 and the WA Tennis Centre could be relocated.

The Premier has ruled out seeking funding for the project from James Packer's Crown group, despite the company's neighbouring casino and entertainment complex inevitably benefitting from tens of thousands more visitors to the area, as well as public transport upgrades.

In defending his decision, Mr Barnett said past lessons had taught him not to mix business with government.

The AFL also could avoid forking out funds, despite the glaring benefits it would receive from having another top rate facility.

"We do hope that the AFL will play a role but this is a government-funded project," Mr Barnett said.

However, the federal government, which withdrew its offer of $250 million for a new stadium when Australia lost a bid for the 2022 World Cup, is likely to pitch in - even if only to attract much needed WA votes.

"I would be confident there will be a significant contribution from the federal government," Mr Barnett said.

"You'll probably hear about that in the lead up to the next federal election."

Federal Minister for Sport Mark Arbib said he would continue discussions with the state government.

"I welcome the Western Australian Government's decision to proceed with the new Perth Stadium," he said.

"It is good news for Perth, with greater capacity, and good news for sport providing opportunities for more world class events.

What it means for Subiaco
The new facility will supersede the Subiaco oval, which has been the state's premier sporting facility for decades, generating a unique culture in the western suburb.

The Eagles intend to keep their headquarters there and continue training at the ground, and WAFL and other sporting games are expected to be played at the stadium.

However, the decision not to build the new facility in the existing hub, which was the preferred option of a taskforce set up to investigate options, will draw thousands of people away from the suburb each weekend, potentially impacting on local businesses.

Mr Barnett said building at Burswood would avoid the demolition of 32 private homes and 66 Homeswest properties.

He said there were "years" to deal with potential concerns for businesses, which may, but was unlikely, to lead to compensation.

"We deliberately took a decision for the future,'' Mr Barnett said.

"If you look at it right now, Subiaco is better served by transport, and is better served by entertainment around it. But looking to the future, or for the next decade, the next 50 years, then I'd imagine this whole precinct will be totally different than what it is today.'



Barnett bets on a Burswood stadium vision

By Courtney Trenwith
WA Today Website
June 28, 2011

Premier Colin Barnett has confirmed the worst kept secret in Perth - the new sport stadium will be built on the Burswood peninsula.

Mr Barnett today announced the new structure would be built at a cost of $700 million, plus an extra $300 million for additional infrastructure, and was scheduled to be completed in 2018.

It was expected to have the third-biggest capacity of any stadium in the country and would be the second-largest AFL stadium behind the MCG.

The WA Football League and West Coast Eagles would remain based at the existing Subiaco Oval, but the Eagles and Fremantle Dockers would play home games at the new ground.

Mr Barnett said it would have a capacity of 60,000 seats with provision for future expansion to 70,000 seats in the style of Melbourne's Etihad Stadium, with similar views, amenities and level of comfort.

In explaining his preference for the location, Mr Barnett said it was unconstrained by surrounding developments and had the additional benefit of being government-owned.

The location has previously been criticised for its poor soil quality and its lack of transport, being serviced by only one train line and one major arterial road.

To compensate for this, Mr Barnett said a special events four-platform train station would be built to service all Perth's railway lines, and a pedestrain bridge would be constructed over the Swan River connecting the stadium to the CBD.

No carpark would be built underneath the stadium, with drivers expected to park in the CBD and walk across the bridge.

No geo-technical drilling has taken place at the site, but Mr Barnett said he was confident the soil could withstand the stadium. A set of 30-metre pylons would be sunk into the ground at a cost of about $30 million to stabilise the structure.

"We know enough to know there's no risk to the project,'' he said.

The Burswood site was preferred by Mr Barnett over rival locations in East Perth and Subiaco, both of which were chosen ahead of the Burswood site by a major stadia taskforce, which examined new stadium options for the previous Labor government.

The decision could leave Subiaco businesses reeling.

"We deliberatley took a decision for the future,'' Mr Barnett said.

"If you look at it right now, Subiaco is better served by transport, and is better served by entertainment around it. But looking to the future, or for the next decade, the next 50 years, then I'd imagine this whole precinct will be totally different than what it is today.''

The State Tennis Centre, which currently occupies the location, would likely be relocated, and the golf course's days are numbered.

Mr Barnett said no detailed design work had begun. Construction was expected to take four years and could be completed as early as mid-2017, but 2018 was nominated as the likely finish date.

The stadium would accommodate multiple sports, although it had not yet been decided whether rectractable seating would be included, and the facility would not include a roof.

Mr Barnett said the stadium would be the centrepiece for an overarching redevelopment of the city's eastern gateway.

"The new stadium will be the centrepiece of an emerging eastside precinct at the gateway to Perth and is within walking distance of a range of potential transport options including footbridges, ferries, and trains," he said.

"We want people going to the stadium for an event to catch public transport. The new Perth Stadium will deliver a high quality, state-of-the-art facility all West Australians can be proud of.

"To help us achieve this, there will be an international design competition to attract the best ideas."

Sports Minister Terry Waldron said the new stadium would pay back its cost through hosting a wide variety of events.

"The new stadium will be a true multi-purpose facility able to hold not only sporting events such as football and major international rugby, cricket and soccer games, but major cultural events such as concerts as well," Mr Waldron said.

AFL commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said the stadium would provide a tremendous boost for AFL in WA and deliver millions of dollars in revenue for the state.

"The new stadium at Burswood will be a world-class facility, provide world-class amenities and (it will be) an unparalleled experience for fans."

Mr Fitzpatrick said the stadium would allow the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers to grow their member base.

He said the new Gold Coast stadium had proven that if you build a modern state-of-the-art stadium, fans would travel from around the country to experience it.

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