STADIUM BATTLE: The two rival Rockhampton Stadium bids at Victoria Park and Browne Park have divided the support of politicians and the public.
STADIUM BATTLE: The two rival Rockhampton Stadium bids at Victoria Park and Browne Park have divided the support of politicians and the public.

Stadium poll results in as Browne Park Trust speaks out

THE public is as divided as local politicians over which rival Rockhampton stadium bid they support according to a Morning Bulletin readers’ poll conducted this week.

While only a small sample size of almost 170 readers voted in the non-scientific poll, it showed a trend of support leaning towards the Rocky Stadium bid (championed by the LNP and One Nation) with 53 per cent of votes, double the 24 per cent who voted in favour of the Browne Park Stadium (championed by Labor).

A fifth of voters (20 per cent) were opposed to both proposed locations, preferring the long awaited stadium was located elsewhere.

STADIUM POLL: There is a trend towards supporting the Victoria Park Stadium proposal over the Browne Park Stadium plan.
STADIUM POLL: There is a trend towards supporting the Victoria Park Stadium proposal over the Browne Park Stadium plan.

Due to the number of votes received, The Morning Bulletin cautions readers against taking too much from the poll.

It could come down to October’s State Election for the true support for the rival bids to be revealed through the results at the ballot box.

Given the recent media attention to Gavin Shuker’s rival bid to build a $23 million Rocky Stadium at Victoria Park, Browne Park Trust’s chairman Paul Hoolihan has spoken extensively in defence of the Browne Park Stadium proposal.

While acknowledging the full feasibility report into a Browne Park Stadium had not been publicly released, he said the plan had been fully reviewed by the Queensland Government and negotiations were ongoing.

He expressed amazement at the “ill-informed comments and detail” circulating about the upgrade of Browne Park and sought to set the record straight on the bid and raise questions about its rival.

ADVOCATE: Chair of the management of Browne Park Trust, Paul Hoolihan hopes to see a stadium built at Browne Park.
ADVOCATE: Chair of the management of Browne Park Trust, Paul Hoolihan hopes to see a stadium built at Browne Park.

Read his full statement below:

I do not know whether to express amusement or amazement at the articles contained in the Morning Bulletin on June 29 and some of the comments made.

Portraying a photo of Gavin Shuker with Redcliffe Dolphins ground has no supported facts and detail.

He should approach Dolphins to discuss the amount of $23 million which has given them a full stadium, although some not under cover, and it was built in stages and with the support of a major, and very successful, Leagues Club.

STADIUM ALTERNATIVE: Rocky Sports Club's Gavin Shuker inspected the Redcliffe Stadium and believes one similar could be built at Victoria Park, Rockhampton.
STADIUM ALTERNATIVE: Rocky Sports Club's Gavin Shuker inspected the Redcliffe Stadium and believes one similar could be built at Victoria Park, Rockhampton.

Even Geoff Murphy as an experienced builder and at the helm of the CQRNL bid club (the forerunner to Rockhampton Sports Club) had a cost of around $150M to build a stadium at Victoria Park which was going to use some of Rocky High Sports ground and the Tennis Courts, as well as Victoria Park.

(Capricornia MP) Michelle Landry claiming a “rumour” of $80 million cost has to be floated as a “joke” as no one has seen any final figure.

Stadium building design company, Populous, which has constructed stadiums around the world has the base cost of $10,000 per seat for a greenfield stadium and a cost of around 1 per cent of the building cost for annual upkeep.

Browne Park is a “brown” field construction needing upgrade only.

Who will meet the upkeep cost at Victoria Park or will it be tossed back to the council to bail it out?

CONCEPT IMAGES: This is an artist's impression of how the proposed Rocky Stadium would appear at Victoria Park.
CONCEPT IMAGES: This is an artist's impression of how the proposed Rocky Stadium would appear at Victoria Park.

Various people from the rugby league community have discussed the upgrade with Michelle and she has been invited to any discussions but has not attended.

Rockhampton Regional Council have also been included in all negotiations.

When Tony Hopkins mentioning flooding of various sports grounds he forgot the 2 metres through the then Brothers Club during various flooding events.

He also can provide no facts or figures, but Browne Park does not flood.

Then to read the opinion piece on June 30 trying to bolster the political nature of the attempt to con the public about a Victoria Park venue should worry all community members in Rockhampton.

It is The Morning Bulletin and the people who ran the opinion piece on June 29 who have tried to play politics but the upgrade of Browne Park is too important to the community to jump into that mire.

We seek the assistance of whatever government is in power in Queensland and our current Premier has expressed her support.

It would be strange if Tim Mander as a former RL referee would not realise the potential of an upgrade to Browne Park.

Bear in mind that Rockhampton will be losing another family park, and Brothers will lose their leased field which has cost them considerable funding and provides a complex for three senior sides and around 500 junior players that train and play at the complex.

Their fields are solidly used by their senior and junior leagues, rugby union, schoolboy games and carnivals and they do not support any stadium on Victoria Park.

A reference was made by Michelle to some 17 clubs allied with the Sports Club which is privately owned, and claimed as a “not for profit” club, but how many are the users of a stadium and will meet the cost of upkeep.

Browne Park has been the premier sports ground in Rockhampton at its current location for nearly 100 years and has never cost the community or ratepayers one cent.

Compare that with other privately owned or council supported major grounds along the Queensland Coast.

STADIUM VISIT: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited Browne Park with Rockhampton MP Barry O’Rourke, saying Cabinet would consider funding the stadium upgrade.
STADIUM VISIT: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited Browne Park with Rockhampton MP Barry O’Rourke, saying Cabinet would consider funding the stadium upgrade.

The ground was managed by trustees until late in the last century when the freehold was taken over by the present incorporated body.

The members are elected from the rugby league and Rockhampton community and not on the basis of any political affiliation.

Rugby league, and the other sports which have supported the upgrade and will be incorporated into an expanded management committee, cover a multitude of political beliefs.

Browne Park has one major tenant, Rockhampton Leagues Club and has a number of minor tenants, including the CQ Capras, who pay rent for their use of the grounds which is utilised fully for upkeep and maintenance on the Park.

It has been used for important football matches, including international matches like Tonga versus Scotland during the World Cup in 2008, and has been used as a venue for community events such as PBR and the Nitro Circus, and even the editor indicates that he knows the value of Browne Park.

Major events which are held at venues such as Suncorp Stadium at Lang Park include cost of travel to the event by bus or train in the ticket.

The Titans Stadium at the Gold Coast has very little parking and travel is by train, or bus from Robin Town Centre.

Even ANZ Stadium in Sydney has very little parking and attendance is by train or bus and a short walk to the grounds.

Even the War Memorial in Canberra runs buses to Anzac Day ceremonies, certainly with the support of Canberra City.

The Trust has considered attendance at any major events to include travel in the ticket and approaches have been made to large shopping centres in Yeppoon, Gracemere and Rockhampton to utilise their parking areas and to run buses so parking is a non-issue.

That way, the Leagues Club can continue to trade and use its parking and people do not have to even walk two blocks if they come by bus.

This is not a field of dreams where you build it and they will come.

The Browne Park Upgrade has been closely monitored and the management committee is hopeful of being included in post-COVID recovery infrastructure funding.

Nothing is being undertaken by any seat of the pants operation such as the Victoria Park proposal and all matters needing to be considered are being factored into planning.

This is not a proposal which has been thought up and written on the back of a beer coaster and, hopefully, Browne Park will continue to be available for the whole Central Queensland community for the 21st century and beyond.”



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