Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 June 2015) . . Page.. 1993 ..
seats. For an elite venue that cost not the projected $4.1 million but $7 million to now have a reduced seating capacity in the order of 50 per cent is an absolute disgrace—a $7 million facility for the benefit of 200 spectators.
What is made worse is that the limited seating is located only at one end of the ground. Instead, in place of the old seating, there is now a building that houses offices and storage rooms, and that is in prime viewing space. Why, with a little planning, could there not have been a grandstand built there, with the offices located under the grandstand, however modest that grandstand may have been? Just this fact alone is enough to question the whole planning process for this venue. But there is more, lots more, to highlight and to call this government to account on, and that is the important part of trying to address this issue, where the mistakes occur and keep occurring.
This facility was frequently touted as an elite, almost AIS-type athletics facility. Comments from the then sports minister and his directorate often stated—and as late March 2014 it was reported—that the upgraded facility would accommodate a range of current and future event opportunities, including potential international events. Without even going to international event expectations, which I always thought was ambitious at best and probably not a requirement, I ask: where are the seating and spectator facilities to accommodate just 400 spectators, let alone the previously quoted figure of 3,000 spectators, to attend an athletics grand prix event or the school athletics events that attract over 1,500 competitors and spectators? Where will all these spectators sit? And where is the undercover seating, as required under athletic association rules for such events?
We have often said, and others in the wider community have agreed, that this government’s track record on planning and delivering on budget is abysmal. The upgrade of the Woden facility is sadly just another classic example of this failure, with our community paying more and getting less from this government. Maybe this government are only expecting 200 to ever turn up to events at Woden park, as they certainly have not planned for too many people to be at the ground at once. With just 38 designated car spaces and two disabled parking spots, where would 3,000 people possibly park? I think at some stage, as the equivalent of “let them eat cake”, it was suggested the hospital car park was just across the road. I think Mr Barr suggested that.
The brief from Athletics Australia also states that any seating outside a grandstand should have permanent sun protection sails over it. For the information of the Assembly, athletics is run during the summer. Melanoma accounts for 11 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in Australia. The Cancer Council ACT SunSmart policy encourages schools, workplaces and sporting clubs to promote sun safety at outdoor events. Surely this is an approach that this government should also be taking note of.
Where is the shade at Woden? There is not any. That is not quite correct. It is interesting that during a recent visit to Woden park I noticed that the government was able to provide a roof and shelter for the garbage bins. We certainly do not want our garbage bins getting sunburnt during summer or wet during rain. Spectators, though, and the many young competitors that will be expected at this upgraded venue have not received any protection from the elements, basic features that an upgraded $7.1 million facility should provide.