WORK on a project to deliver an elite and community soccer facility to Canberra has laid dormant for more than five years, but the ACT government denies that planning surrounding its $20 million construction has delayed progress.
The Otium Planning Group was commissioned to deliver the indoor sports project study in December 2015, but the government did not release the Planning for Indoor Facilities and Other Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Report until June 2019.
Gungahlin was identified as the preferred location for a dedicated soccer-only facility after consultation with Capital Football, which represents territory stakeholders in the sport, and the government’s free offer of a parcel of land to build on.
The preliminary planning and design work that was focusing on futsal courts was set down to be completed in late-2019.
Liberal member for Yerrabi, James Milligan, returning to the ACT Legislative Assembly after the resignation of former party leader Alistair Coe following last year’s election loss, wasted no time in questioning the inner workings of the project that appeared to stagnate work.
Capital Football was expecting the first phase of the development to be completed before the end of 2021.
Minister for Sport and Recreation, Yvette Berry, played down timelines of the “vital piece of sporting infrastructure” in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday (April 22).
“That work is continuing; due diligence work is continuing on the site to ensure that the plan for the home of football in Throsby can be delivered and delivered in a way that the community has expectations, particularly given the work the ACT government has done in partnership with Capital Football,” she said.
The state-of-the-art facility would be the centrepiece for any future Canberra A-League bid, but the government has also promised it will be open to public use.
The city’s well-credentialed W-League club and its youth league team are hoping to utilise the Throsby venue for their training base.