Report suggests $4 million Eureka Stadium budget blowout

Mystery surrounds the total cost of the Eureka Stadium development, with conflicting council financial reports suggesting there has been up to a $4 million budget blowout. 

A quarterly finances reported endorsed by Ballarat City Council last week, revealed the total expenditure committed for the stadium upgrade for the 2016/17 financial year was $15 million.

Eureka Stadium construction works earlier this year.

Eureka Stadium construction works earlier this year.

It comes after a $14 million upgrade contract for a grandstand at the stadium was awarded to Nicholson Construction earlier this year. 

However, a quarterly financial report for the period ending in March 2016, revealed the council already committed an additional $5.3 million to the stadium in the 2015/16 financial year, blowing the touted $15 million budget out to more than $19 million.

The Courier understands the extra $5.3 million was pumped into resurfacing and oval realignment costs.

No detail of how the money was spent was included in the council’s annual report which was released earlier this year.

Stage one of the project includes a 5000-seat grandstand, with the stadium capacity listed around 11,000.

The Courier sought clarification from the council on the exact costings of the stadium upgrade and construction works to date, but it declined to comment, directing all questions to the state government which is funding the project. 

The Courier requested a full breakdown of costs of the entire project, including the Eureka Stadium, from the state government but it did not provide it. 

Unanswered questions also remain over who will manage maintenance and future costs associated with the stadium during its operating phase.

Ballarat council chief executive Justine Linley was asked at a public meeting last week, whether the state government or council would manage the stadium once it was completed. 

Ms Linley took the question on notice and revealed she was yet to brief the new council on the project.

Bulldogs chief executive Peter Gordon previously confirmed AFL games would be scheduled for Ballarat during the 2017 season providing construction work was finished on time.

It is anticipated the Bulldogs will play two games a season at Ballarat as it spreads its roots into Western Victoria.

In a written statement from Victorian Regional Development and Agriculture minister Jaala Pulford said the government had committed to invest more than $30 million into Ballarat’s Eureka Precinct. 

“As part of the project consultation with the precinct users and local community, it was identified that a number of additional precinct elements would deliver the greatest benefit to the community,” the statement read.

“(This included) Realignment of the main oval, installation of a new sand based playing surface, substantial spectator viewing mounding, installation of new sand based playing surface on Wendouree number two oval and upgrading of lights.”