LAGGING BEHIND: Rockhampton's home of rugby league, Browne Park needs a serious upgrade.
LAGGING BEHIND: Rockhampton's home of rugby league, Browne Park needs a serious upgrade. TAMARA MACKENZIE

Global firm investigates major Browne Park expansion

IT'S a case of local communities doing it for themselves as the Browne Park management committee announce their vision to expand and upgrade Rockhampton's Home of Rugby League to a 12,000 seat stadium.

On the eve of the centenary of Rugby League in Rockhampton, chairman Paul Hoolihan confirmed support for an expansion, which would enable visiting NRL games and possible Queensland Reds and Brisbane Roar matches as well as music concerts and other entertainment.

At 12,000 seats, the stadium would be larger than Mackay's, which has a 10,000 capacity. The Brisbane Entertainment Centre has 11,000 tiered seats and a maximum capacity of 14,500.

The Populous Group, a global architecture and design firm with projects like Yankee Stadium, the London Olympics and the Super Bowl to its credit, is advising on the feasibility of the stadium's construction and costs.

Concerts with big stars like Elton John are part of the vision.
Concerts with big stars like Elton John are part of the vision. PAUL BERGEN

Initial enquiries were made in 2009 before the focus shifted onto a much larger stadium to support a CQ NRL team.

"The machinations within the Rugby League community for no expansion seems to have set that proposal back or seriously derailed it," Mr Hoolihan said.

"If there is no will within Government to construct a stadium, the management committee considers that Browne Park should be expanded to approximately 10000 or 12000 to cater for visiting NRL games, at least."

"We have our Intrust Super Cup Capras and seven clubs in the local senior competition.

"The Capras have revamped their committee and have an alliance with the Titans, which can only be of assistance.

"If they can bring NRL games to the region, we need to provide a larger stadium."

Discussions with the CQ Leagues Club, CQ Capras and local representatives of the QRL were initially supportive and a public meeting is likely to be held once the proposal is finalised.

"Anyone who supports the idea should let The Morning Bulletin and local media know, so the message will get out," Mr Hoolihan said.

Rockhampton MP, Bill Byrne has been approached for State Government support and will present details to the Treasurer once the preliminary outline is available.

That process is likely to take a couple of months.

It is understood there may need to be some re-arrangement of traffic in Murray Street along with the use of cantilever seating and restricted parking.

"All enquiries have shown that the most effective stadia are those built to allow patrons to walk from the CBD or available parking centres," Mr Hoolihan said.

"Browne Park is ideal for that proposal and we will be seeking the support of Rockhampton Regional Council and bus services to integrate to give us a national, even international quality stadium."



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