Page 1998 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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In line with this enhanced development, the construction indeed included internal car parking, an upgraded athletics facility and an improved playing surface, for not just the Woden football club but the entire football community. I will come back to the playing surface.

In terms of seating capacity, I must admit that I was a bit concerned at first by Mr Doszpot’s assertion that seating has been reduced by 50 per cent as a result of the improved facility upgrades, and would agree that that does sound somewhat counterintuitive. I have sought an explanation from Sport and Recreation Services, who have advised me that they are not aware of such a reduction. It is possible, I am advised, that prior to the redevelopment there may have been more seating units stored on the site, but these seating units were never fixed as a firm capacity at Woden.

For members’ understanding, the seating capacity within Woden park has always been dependent on aluminium bleacher seating, which is relocatable and not permanent. Sport and Recreation Services has over 80 aluminium seating units which seat between 50 and 60 adults per unit. These units are regularly moved around Canberra as needed to meet demand. These units are also available for hire and are often relocated for special events. Apparently, initial plans for building and seating location were amended after feedback provided by the stakeholders, including Woden Valley Football Club, but I am told that the seating configuration on site was agreed in consultation with the stakeholders.

The short answer is that we currently have capacity on the site for at least 500 people, in terms of ground to place the units on, and are currently in the process of levelling ground on the eastern side of the park to accommodate additional bleacher seating in the future.

I am not sure I can agree with Mr Doszpot’s negative running down of the Woden park in the next few points of his motion, and in his comments about expectations. I believe it is a fantastic facility, and I have had positive feedback from user groups and individuals who attest to that. I also meet with a range of these stakeholders on a pretty regular basis.

I have been to Woden athletics track for various events. Those events have included organised meets of the athletics club. I went out there for the first game of Woden’s season this year—and I did see the state of the pitch, which, again, I will come back to. I have also been there for other events. For example, one of the Indian communities in Canberra booked out the facility for a family fun day. I went down there at the end of the day. Mr Coe was there as well, at the end of the day. I can attest that that community had the most marvellous time. They were thrilled with the facility and thrilled that they had been able to book it and use it for what was a wonderful day for their community.

As members will appreciate, I move in the running community quite a bit. I have talked to active athletes, adult athletes and the parents of junior athletes, and I know they are thrilled to have a second track in Canberra. The AIS is a terrific facility, but it is one that has a national focus at times and it is not always available to local athletes.

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