Victoria Park could save us $1.1b, so it deserves better than premier’s short shrift



As it happened, I was invited to Arcadis’ Brisbane office to meet with the company’s global cities director John Batten, who was in town on a lightning visit last week.

While there, Arcadis Brisbane chief Paul Allan told me while the report they prepared for Archipelago was confidential, he could confirm Edwards’ $3.4 billion figure stacked up.

So how is this possible? How could Brisbane get three venues for less than the price of two?

Allan said having the venues in the same place created numerous efficiencies.

“Having the venues together is part of it, and obviously you can construct all three concurrently,” he says.

As for the green space, Allan backed up Edwards’ claim that there would be a net increase under the Archipelago proposal.

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The reason? Additional green space gained by building over the Inner City Bypass and the rail line at the south-east of the site.

“It’s basically in sections, so you can link Victoria Park with the parkland on the other side where the Centenary Pool sits, and that more than offsets the footprints of the three stadiums,” he says.

“Obviously, the pool isn’t huge. The arena isn’t huge, either. The stadium is the biggest one, but that [ICB and rail covering] more than offsets the size.”

An added bonus of that was it would better link Victoria Park to the city. As it stands, the rail lines and the ICB are pretty major obstacles for pedestrian access to the site.

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“I think [Victoria Park] is only 1½ half kilometres from the city,” Allan says.

“It’s pretty close, but no one uses it because it’s not that reachable.”

It’s not just pedestrian access from the CBD that works in the plan’s favour – with Cross River Rail and the Brisbane Metro, Victoria Park is about to become a lot more accessible by public transport, something QSAC is sadly lacking.

As Allan says: “It’s way more expensive to build transport than it is to build stadiums.”

So is Victoria Park the best option for Brisbane? That’s for people far more qualified than a mere journalist to answer.

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All the cost estimates and planning so far have been, by Allan’s admission, pretty high-level. More forensic analysis would be required before any decisions could be made.

But it is clear Victoria Park is an option that demands proper investigation and not be dismissed out of hand, as it has been by both Miles and Opposition Leader David Crisafulli.

Queensland taxpayers deserve to know whether they could save $1.1 billion by pursuing an Olympic plan that would actually leave a lasting legacy for Brisbane. After all, other worthy sports infrastructure projects could benefit from those savings.

If the costs stack up, and there would indeed be no net loss of green space, then Victoria Park is an absolute no-brainer.



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