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New plan for 60,000-seat stadium next to Subiaco

Austadiums   |  Thursday 11th January 2007

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A radical proposal for a 60,000-seat multi-purpose stadium overlapping Subiaco Oval, using the existing ground while it is being built, has emerged as a strong chance to become the WA stadium task force's preferred option.

The proposal, expected to cost between $600 million and $1 billion, would see the ground turned 90 degrees to run north-south and would be built over Kitchener Park at the eastern end of the ground.

The new stadium would be built over two to three years and be 75 per cent complete while the existing 43,000-seat stadium was still in use.

Subiaco Oval would then be demolished and major sporting events would move to the partly built stadium, with a capacity of about 45,000, while the project was completed in a further year. The new stadium could be used for AFL and major cricket, rugby and soccer matches.

Task force chairman John Langoulant confirmed yesterday that the proposal was one of the three options still under serious consideration by the task force. The others were a redevelopment of the present ground and a stadium on the East Perth power station site.

But the task force was unlikely to recommend the existing east-west Subiaco site unless the stadium was rebuilt wider like Melbourne's Telstra Dome. That would require sinking the Perth-Fremantle railway line and could also create issues with houses along Roberts Road on the southern side of the ground.

Mr Langoulant said: "The three options are all good options provided they are given a chance."

The task force remains keen on the East Perth site because it is near the Graham Farmer Freeway, two railway lines and the Swan River, which the task force believes creates the opportunity to build an iconic, world-class stadium.

But Mr Langoulant said that the Kitchener Park option had significant advantages. He said: "It has a number of attractions over re-building Subiaco Oval, Firstly, it won't result in anywhere near as much inconvenience to patrons. It also allows you to develop parkland on either side of the stadium, which is something I find quite attractive."

The development would almost certainly require sinking the railway line and the resumption of several houses on the northern side of Kitchener Park.

Mr Langoulant said the Kitchener Park proposal would minimise the impact on Roberts Road residents south of the ground and the development would not affect trees in Mueller Park. But he conceded the key elements in the debate remained the amount of money that the Government was prepared to spend and the governance of the ground.

"The management issue is one we have got to work out with the WA Football Commission," he said. "The Government's decision is whether it wants a world class stadium or a compromise. If it wants a world class stadium then it will have to commit $600 million to building it."

WAFC chief executive Wayne Bradshaw said football would be prepared to consider the latest option.

He confirmed that stadium management remained the critical issue.

"At the end of the day we have got a lease that gives us long-term certainty," he said.

MARK DUFFIELD
The West Australian

 

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