- Wednesday 21 April 2021
With only a couple of weeks remaining until the Federal Government delivers its next budget, Sunshine Coast Council and stadium supporters remain hopeful the budget will include funding which will see the Sunshine Coast Stadium Expansion project become a reality.
With a population of more than 330,000 people, and the second highest forecast population growth rate in Queensland through to 2041, council has an ambition to develop a stadium that will have the capacity to stage international and national sporting, recreational and entertainment events.
The Sunshine Coast Stadium Expansion project has widespread support, securing $20 million from the Queensland Government, $11 million from local philanthropists and $17 million from council.
The final piece of the funding puzzle is the $20 million contribution council is hopeful of securing in the Federal Government budget.
Rugby League legend and local business owner Billy Moore was hopeful the Federal Government would come through with funding and was excited to see the project go ahead.
“If we’re lucky enough to get the funding, it will give us the opportunity to create jobs right now, and when it’s finished it’ll be great for local businesses, event organisers and sporting clubs, so it would be a shame to see the project shelved,” Mr Moore said.
“If we miss out on this Federal Government funding, it puts the project at risk and then the whole region misses out - and how long we’ll continue to miss out is unknown and that’s not a great prospect for our growing region. The lost economic benefits will be huge.”
An enhanced stadium is a missing piece of economic and community infrastructure for a region the size of the Sunshine Coast and its projected growth.
Without an enhanced stadium, the region risks losing opportunities to host future sporting, lifestyle and entertainment events, with event promotors looking to other regions which are developing their facilities.
Local philanthropists Roy Thompson and Rod Forrester have pledged a combined $11 million towards the project, on the condition that the State and Federal governments contribute $20 million each and commit to do so before 30 June 2021.
Australian Sports Foundation Sports Partnership Manager Chris Bond OAM said the pledge from local philanthropist Roy Thompson was one of the largest philanthropic contributions to any of the thousands of sports projects the Foundation has assisted in the last 30 years.
“The $11 million combined philanthropic pledge to the stadium expansion project presents an incredible opportunity and could leave a lasting legacy for generations to come,” Mr Bond said.
“The pledge will also help the Australian Sports Foundation support more grassroots programs in the region, which is an extraordinary opportunity for all involved, and it would be devastating if it was lost.”
Speaking from experience as a Paralympian who will be off to his third Paralympics in Tokyo come August, Chris said the stadium expansion had been designed to cater for all abilities to enhance the event day experience.
“The proposed design features additional lifts, seating platforms that are advantageous to people in a wheelchair, or not able bodied. The viewing experience and access will be awesome and with the potential Brisbane 2032 Olympics so close to home, this expanded stadium could be a critical component,” Mr Bond said.
“The opportunity to host Olympic events in the region and at Sunshine Coast Stadium has so many benefits and the venue will be a much-needed asset.
“If the $11 million philanthropic contribution is lost, it will also indirectly impact grassroots sport in the region, as the Australian Sports Foundation will have less capacity to support local clubs in need.”
TEG CEO Geoff Jones said this stadium upgrade would be great for the people of the Sunshine Coast.
“It will more than triple the stadium’s seating capacity for sport and major concerts, creating another leg on the tour circuit for major artists and bringing significant employment opportunities to one of South-East Queensland’s fastest growing areas,” Mr Jones said.
- The expansion has an estimated cost of $68 million. Council has committed $17 million, local philanthropists have committed $11 million, the Queensland Government has committed $20 million and the remaining $20 million is being sought from the Australian Government.
- The proposed expansion will boost the venue seating capacity to 11,618 with a total capacity of 16,618 via a new eastern grandstand with 8085 seats, expansion of the existing western grandstand to 3533 seats, from 1046, and retention of the southern and northern mounds to accommodate around 5000 spectators.
- In addition to extra seating, the expansion would include improved facilities for athletes and officials, multi-purpose/community spaces, additional change rooms, coaches’ and media boxes, camera platforms and a production area, improved first aid facilities and enhanced hospitality and function offerings.
- Fans will enjoy a better experience with improved seating layout and sight lines, additional supply of food and beverages, more public amenities, improved access and inclusivity and better technology.
Check out the fly-through of the proposed expansion.
Image: Mike Aronsten - Sunshine Coast Rugby Union, Richard Kneipp - Qld Oztag, Ash Robinson - Sunshine Coast Falcons, Billy Moore - Rugby League legend, Brett Tyson - Qld Oztag, Sam Mawhinney - Sunshine Coast Falcons