Sports precinct masterplan cut to attract investors

A PROPOSED $80 million Ballarat sports and entertainment precinct has been revised to sell the major redevelopment to the state government and opposition.

The centrepiece of the $80 million masterplan – a 15,000-seat AFL stadium encapsulating Eureka Stadium – has been reduced to a 6000-seat facility in a bid to to slash the hefty price tag and present a more attractive investment option to the government.

City of Ballarat mayor Joshua Morris said the council had identified “priorities” from the previous $80 million draft master plan.

In doing so, it has slashed the short-term project cost by $43 million.

The Ballarat Regional Capital Plan shows $37 million of projects for the precinct, including a $15 million, a 6000-seat stadium and a $9 million indoor basketball and netball stadium.

An $8 million sports house combines a potential 3000 square-metre exhibition space with some administrative facilities.

There is no mention of a human movement/sports sciences facility, which could attract federal government funding.

Cr Morris said the project was scaled back to create a more manageable investment opportunity.

“The $80 million came out of the previous report. We’ve decided to go through and review that report and look at what was essential,” Cr Morris said.

“We’re saying a 6000-seat stadium is meeting the needs moving forward.”

He said a second report would be published early next year.

North Ballarat Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald said it was a good start for the site, which had the ability to become a major revenue raiser for the city and was always about more than just AFL.

Mr FitzGerald said there was still scope for the AFL to be involved in the precinct with a 6000-seat facility and a capacity to grow over time.

Committee for Ballarat chief executive John Kilgour said the previous masterplan was considered too big to attract government interest.

But the community should not take its perspective off the bigger picture, he said.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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