Stadium sites have problems

Not enough options being considered       13 June 2006

In a decade, we may have a new sports stadium in Western Australia, a 60,000-seat structure that will be home to all big events in the state, including rock concerts.

John Langoulant’s taskforce has come up with two sites to consider for this new arena – Mueller Park next to Subiaco Oval and vacant land next to the old East Perth power station.

The taskforce did not consider revamping Subiaco Oval as a primary option and gave scant regard to the green fields’ site suggested by the City of Cockburn.

ANOTHER TIME: SUBIACO OVAL POST WORLD WAR II Photo: State Library WA

Mueller Park is going to take a big fight for the State Government to win. It is worth keeping the park intact to save the mature trees alone.

Subiaco City Council represents some powerful people in its bailiwick and the electorate’s Federal Minister Julie Bishop and state representative, Sue Walker, are more likely to back the council and the residents if there is a stoush.

East Perth looks too small. The vacant block on the corner of Joel Terrace and East Parade is bordered on one side by huge pylons and electricity transformers and much if not this entire infrastructure will have to go if a decent stadium is to be built.

On the other side of East Parade is the Perth-Midland rail line and East Perth station where the Indian Pacific stops. It looks pretty ugly from ground level and there would need to be an under or overpass linking the station with the ground.

This site needs redecorating and a clean-up before linking it to the arena.

East Perth also assumes that Perth people will all travel there by train. Think again.

No matter how we evolve in this state, our residents don’t seem to want to move away from travelling by their own car.

East Perth doesn’t have enough room for a suitable car park and this government doesn’t seem to want to embrace the Liberal Opposition’s ideas for improving ferry services from Perth to Burswood, the power station site, Belmont Park racecourse and beyond.

There doesn’t appear to be enough room for buses to park so we are locked in to the train. Great, if they run efficiently and often before and after the events.

For loud concerts the East Perth option does have the advantage of a reasonable buffer zone on three sides to ease noise problems.

So, if we consider that East Perth and Mueller Park have obvious drawbacks, why has Cockburn been so swiftly eliminated from Mr Langoulant’s possibilities?

If this government is right that most people will be travelling to the football by train in 2016 – and I sincerely hope they are correct – Cockburn may be reasonably central between the expanding northern suburbs and the burgeoning home construction in Mandurah and further south.

Like many people I don’t fancy going to Cockburn for anything, especially once a week for football, but it may yet prove the best option for a glamour stadium.

The city is 22km south of Perth as opposed to Wanneroo (26km), which many of us once thought far too far away to visit or live.

Today, thousands of people live further north than this and no one turns a hair.

The Langoulant taskforce appears to have been pretty narrow in its options and this discussion is going to take a lot of twists before the first sod of earth is turned.

2018 OPENING: THE HIGHLY REGARDED OPTUS STADIUM AT BURSWOOD, NEAR PERTH
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