The plan is that it will be used by the Brumbies, Raiders, potentially an A League team, and quite possibly Canberra United in the W League.
A new aquatic centre will be constructed at the west basin as part of a recreation precinct.
Funding the indoor stadium, which could cost in the vicinity of $300 million, is entirely feasible if there is a mix of government and private enterprise.
There was a rumour that an approach had been made to build a new casino closer to the lake to help fund the City to the Lake project. Sports Minister Andrew Barr said it was news to him.
I can envisage sports medicine clinics setting up shop at the new stadium; sports stores, bars and restaurants are obvious business possibilities.
If it’s used as a year-round venue it would become more attractive to a potential naming-rights sponsor and the funding model becomes clearer.
With the stadium being an indoor complex, it could also host trade expos and concerts.
It’s reasonably obvious there is a philosophical push by Barr for sport to be more sustainable and less reliant on government funding.
There are plans to have businesses established at Manuka Oval as part of its redevelopment, with the ground opening up to the Manuka shopping precinct.
If GWS can attract bigger crowds and more corporate support there will be less reliance on the ACT Government to fill the funding shortfall.
The Brumbies are a case in point, with the capital raised from the sale of their Griffith site facilitating the move to the University of Canberra with financial assistance from the ACT Government and the university. But with money in the bank it makes the Brumbies less reliant on the Government.
The Raiders are also seeking to redevelop on the site of one of their licensed clubs at Braddon.
I wouldn’t be surprised if other sporting clubs with land not being used for sport attempt to sell to developers or redevelop it themselves, although this can be fraught with danger.
For as long as I can remember, there has been a plan to sell parts of Southwell Park in Lyneham to developers to raise capital, but that appears to be on the back burner following the discovery of asbestos at the site.
Another question is: What happens to Canberra Stadium when the new stadium is built?
Canberra Stadium is owned by the Commonwealth; it could be demolished and sold off to developers.
Given the current direction of the Sports Commission with sports’ organisations taking over programs, the need for further development at the AIS appears highly unlikely. Perhaps they could build a velodrome on the site?
The one thing that is becoming increasingly apparent is that current ACT Government funding of all our national sporting teams is not sustainable and there is a push for more sports to function with more independence. Some sports are heading in that direction, others have a long way to go.