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New Rockhampton stadium site criticised over flood risk

By Jemima Burt, Tuesday September 15, 2020 - 13:01 EST
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The Federal Government has committed $23 million to build a 16,000-seat stadium in Rockhampton. - ABC

Plans to build a sports stadium near Rockhampton's Fitzroy River have been criticised, with the proposed site in a known flood zone.

The Federal Government has committed $23 million for a 16,000-seat stadium and a 1,000-person undercover convention centre to be built at Victoria Park.

The project is now subject to state and council approvals.

The site was the best of 10 potential locations identified through a feasibility study, ahead of Central Queensland University and nearby Browne Park stadium.

Paul Houlihan from the Browne Park Trust said the proposed site had flooded before.

"One, you're building on a massive flood area; two, you're building on a massive dump site; and three, any construction down along there will also flood," he said.

"I believe [it will] increase flooding into Wandal and the CBD because of the amount of runoff that comes from The Range."

But proponent, Rockhampton Sports Club, said the concerns could be ironed out with thorough planning.

"If you have a look at the history of stadiums, Suncorp is built on a cemetery, flood zone, and a rubbish dump," co-founder Gavin Shuker said.

"Optus stadium, which is a $1 billion stadium, is built on a rubbish dump and a flood way.

"We’ve had extensive talks .. about a drainage system, a pump system."

Site chosen to 'avoid Townsville mistake'

Neil Fisher from Rockhampton Regional Council said the site offered the best economic opportunities for the city, given its position at the end of the Fitzroy Riverside Precinct.

"What this study did come out and really identify is that a stadium within the CBD precinct, or close to the CBD, would have the greatest economic flow-on benefit to the community," he said.

"The last thing you want to do is make the Townsville mistake and build a stadium so far out of town that nobody would actually do anything following an event."

He said the announcement did not necessarily prevent the Browne Park upgrade from going ahead.

"If they can get the funding to upgrade Browne Park, I will be just as excited. I think that would be really great," Councillor Fisher said.

Queensland Labor has committed to delivering a feasibility study and funding to upgrade Browne Park.

"To develop Rockhampton as a hub, as an attraction for all of Central Queensland to have that ability to draw crowds for sporting events and other entertainment events and have those really good, first class facilities is going to be a real economic benefit to us all," Councillor Fisher said.


© ABC 2020

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