Subi Oval too small in 10 years, Eagles say
5th February 2009, 6:00 WST
Perth needs a stadium that holds at least 52,000 people within 10 years to keep pace with the State’s growing population, West Coast chairman Mark Barnaba has warned.
As football and rugby raced to reposition themselves in the stadium debate after Premier Colin Barnett’s declaration there would be no 60,000-seat multi-purpose stadium project started for at least two years, Mr Barnaba warned that AFL clubs could not afford to wait for another stadium study to come up with another solution.
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“Life is very different to what it was 18 months ago and very different in this State,” he said. “Putting hospitals and schools ahead of museums and stadiums is the right decision in anyone’s eyes.”
But that didn’t change the facts facing football and West Coast in particular.
“The fact is that 42,000 is a small ground in this country,” Mr Barnaba said. “We are at full membership for the Eagles and lots of Dockers games are now sold out at that capacity. The population is growing at 2 to 2½ per cent per year.
“In 10 years, that means that you would need 52,000 to 55,000 seats just to maintain the status quo. Subiaco is an old stadium and it doesn’t compare to revamped stadiums in South Australia, Queensland, NSW and Victoria.”
Rugby and the Town of Vincent have launched a joint proposal for government funding of a $75 million upgrade of Members Equity Stadium, where the Western Force will play all matches from next season.
The WA Football Commission is likely to follow with a $150 million to $200 million proposal to redevelop the southern wing of Subiaco to house 8000 spectators and demolish and re-build the old three-tier stand at the western end of the ground.
Mr Barnaba said football did not have time to wait for more studies on stadia infrastructure such as the one by stadium task force.
“It took three years and we just don’t have that amount of time to follow a process which, quite frankly failed to deliver a result,” he said. “At some point we still need a solution for Subiaco Oval.”
Fremantle chairman Rick Hart said his club would be guided by the WAFC.
“From the club’s point of view we wouldn’t be entering into the debate until we were clear on what the alternatives are,” he said.