Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 497 ..
MR PRATT (continuing):
these spaces is estimated at over $4 million. This additional cost has not been included in the western option cost estimate-
that is, the cost estimates for the AIS itself-
The loss of the car parks will have major implications for the AIS and Bruce Stadium.
The submission from Mr JA Ferguson went on to say that the western alignment can now be expected to cost about $7 million more than the eastern alignment in terms of the impact on the AIS. That includes car parks, other buildings and, of course, airconditioning in accommodation closely affected by traffic conditions. I have to ask: Minister, how are you surprised that the AIS is really savage about the western route option? Why are you surprised about that?
What are we going to do? Are we going to box the AIS into a corner whereby eventually it may just pack up and go? Do not underestimate the fury and the sense of a lack of a fair go which currently exists. Are the government's perceived eastern route weaknesses so serious as to justify such risks with one of Australia's greatest icons and one of the ACT's greatest assets?
We have been told that this development, that is, the western route option, will cost Canberran taxpayers $32 million. If we are going to spend $32 million, we must get it right. That includes all aspects of development in the area, including the impact on the AIS and what that is going to mean for the operations of the AIS in the future. I urge the Stanhope government to quickly re-enter into negotiations with the AIS and to understand to the fullest the serious impact of the proposed western route and abandon that option.
MRS CROSS (4.11): Mr Deputy Speaker, as we can see again today, the government's western alignment for the Gungahlin Drive extension is a fundamentally flawed option. Both proposed alignments would impact adversely to some extent on the environment and the amenity of nearby residents. However, the western route has the added impost of being much more expensive and would seriously threaten the future and viability of one of the jewels in the ACT's crown, the Australian Institute of Sport.
From reading transcripts of previous debates on this proposed roadway, supporters of the western alignment widely dismissed concerns that were raised about its adverse impact on the AIS and members continue to dismiss the same concerns today. That is an unfortunate approach, one that is filled with peril. From listening to members today, I can only conclude that nothing short of the AIS packing up and leaving town could possibly convince supporters of the government's option that they were wrong. They just do not want to hear anything that could prove them wrong.
As we have already heard today, federal parliament was informed this week by the head of the Australian Sports Commission, Mr Mark Peters, that the western alignment would be a disaster for the AIS. Mr Peters said that sport experts feared that noise, fumes and dust from the nearby highway could harm the performance of athletes. It makes no sense to locate an elite sports training facility in a conducive environment and then build an arterial roadway right up beside it, destroying all of those benefits.