There are very good reasons why the proposed sports stadium to be constructed at Regatta Point, Hobart, cannot be built, rather than it should not be built.
The stadium appears to hang on the acceptance of a Tasmanian team into the AFL as stated by the Minister for Sport and Recreation, Nic Street. The proposal will cost $750 million and will be funded by various government levels and investment from the private sector. The site is owned by the people of Tasmania and is managed by the Hobart City Council.
The site is near to the Hobart Cenotaph and the grounds of the Royal Hobart Regatta which includes the historic John Colville Pavilion. There are other recreational facilities which will be impacted and which are enjoyed by Tasmanians, it being so close to the CBD of the capital.
The impact will be considerable. The government has stated that it will be in continual dialogue with the RSL and the Regatta Association.
However, there are considerations not yet taken into account and are not stated on the government’s website regarding the proposal.
I have had on good authority that if the stadium is built, it will block out any visual observance of the rising sun during the dawn service on ANZAC Day. This, alone, is why it should not be constructed at Regatta Point.
Near the proposed site exists the old Queen’s Battery and is close to the Domain Cenotaph where the main military observances take place in the south. Built in 1864, the Queen’s Battery served as protection from foreign invaders until the mid-1920s. It is also the site where the 12th battalion camped before going to WWI. The site was excavated some decades ago and by the request of the RSL in 1992, it was filled in. Another historic aspect, still there under the earth, are trenches of a zig-zag formation. These exist closer to the John Colville Pavilion and while their purpose has been forgotten, I surmise they were bomb shelters from WWII.
The question must be asked; what impact will such a huge stadium have on these historic structures? This also must include the John Colville Pavilion with its many plaques imbedded in its stand, such as those to the boatmen and rowers who served in both world wars. There are tablets also in memory of John and his brother Charles Colville who served with distinction in promoting and serving the regatta in past years.
Other questions must also be asked. Is the stadium needed? In the south for large entertainment productions we have the Deck near Elwick and in Clarence, Blundstone Stadium for sporting events, such as cricket and football, including AFL matches. Is the proposed new stadium warranted, even though it is a wonderful dream? It will be financed by government and private funds. We all know that budgets blow out and the said $750 million will probably be no exception. Governments will borrow to finance it and if the private investment does not eventuate as it is hoped, then we the tax payer will be paying more for its completion. Will it prove to be a white elephant?
Upon inquiry regarding parking for the stadium I have been informed that it is still being planned. If parking will be close to the site, then roads will have to be constructed to the venue and huge parking areas will be provided. Parking on the existing Queen’s Domain is quite a distance away from Regatta Point and how it would be managed has not been suggested.
This does not even take into account the impact upon future regattas after the stadium is completed and ready for the 2027 football season. The Royal Hobart Regatta, dating from 1835, will see its 185th anniversary next year. It is the oldest continuous regatta in Australia.
Too many questions are still not answered and I would suggest they have not even been considered during the eagerness to plan the stadium and how much, already, has the government paid to the architects in drawing up plans? It has to be substantial.
That the stadium will block out the sun during the dawn service on ANZAC Day is enough to say ‘no’ to the proposal while taking into account other questions regarding its construction.