North Queensland Stadium

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North Queensland Stadium
Former names Townsville Stadium
Location South Townsville, Queensland
Coordinates 19°15′59″S 146°48′56″E / 19.26639°S 146.81556°E / -19.26639; 146.81556Coordinates: 19°15′59″S 146°48′56″E / 19.26639°S 146.81556°E / -19.26639; 146.81556
Public transit QRLogoSmall.png Townsville
Capacity 25,000[1]
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground 2017
Opened 2020 (scheduled)
Construction cost $250 million
Architect Philip Cox & Partners
General contractor Watpac
Tenants
North Queensland Cowboys (NRL) (2020-[2])

North Queensland Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium under construction in South Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

History

As part of Australia's 2022 FIFA World Cup bid in 2010, an analysis of Townsville's existing Willows Sports Complex suggested a total redevelopment of the site and outlined key issues including the growth rate of the surrounding suburbs and incompatibility of hosting major events in an expanding residential centre, with limited public transport access. In August 2011, the Bligh Government released a concept design for a new inner-city $185 million sporting stadium in South Townsville. The concept plan identified a 17.28 hectare parcel of land bounded by Saunders St and owned by QR National, as the ideal site for a new international standard stadium. The 30,000 seat stadium would include 100 open-air corporate boxes and 25 enclosed corporate suites. North Queensland Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini supported the concept and said relocating the Cowboys' home ground to the inner-city site would not only benefit the club, but the city as a whole. Two months prior to the concept release, then-Queensland Premier Anna Bligh had declared Townsville the capital of north Queensland and had outlined the importance of sporting events and entertainment in the Townsville Futures Plan.[3] The following year saw Bligh and the Queensland Labor Party lose the 2012 Queensland state election which resulted in the Queensland Liberal National Party not adopting the Townsville Futures Plan.

The concept of a new Townsville stadium was again put on the agenda in the lead up to the 2015 Queensland state election. In December 2014, Queensland Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk promised the Queensland Labor Party would provide $100 million in funding for a new stadium in Townsville's central business district, should they win the election.[4] In January 2015 then-premier Campbell Newman announced $150 million in funding for the same project that would be funded through the sale of state assets.[5]

In April 2015, the Townsville City Council purchased the 17.28ha site in South Townsville with the hope that funding could be secured for the project in the near future.[7] A visit from then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott a month later raised hopes as it was revealed that the federal Liberal National Party was investigating options for Commonwealth funding towards the stadium.[8] Just three days later Treasurer Joe Hockey ruled out Commonwealth funding for the project.[9]

The campaign to build a new stadium in Townsville received national exposure in October 2015 when the North Queensland Cowboys secured their first National Rugby League premiership. With millions watching on a national broadcast and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull standing on the same stage, Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston expressed his belief that north Queensland deserved a new stadium.[10] Following Thurston's speech, the campaign received an immense amount of media coverage. Three days after the Cowboys' 2015 NRL Grand Final win, it was revealed that club officials would travel to Canberra later that month to lobby for federal funding.[11] On 3 November 2015 Bill Shorten and the federal Labor party promised $100 million towards funding the project.[12]

On 10 June 2016 Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk committed an extra $40 million towards the project which upped the total state contribution to $140 million.[13] Three days later Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull matched the federal Labor party's pledge of $100 million, essentially ensuring the project becomes a reality regardless of which major party won the 2016 federal election.[14]

Construction

Construction of the stadium began on 18 August 2017,[15] with completion expected prior to the beginning of the 2020 NRL season.[16][17]

Name and nickname

In 2014 a funding proposal was released that suggested the stadium should officially be known as Stadium Northern Australia.[18] Plans released in December 2016 revealed the stadium will be known as North Queensland Stadium.[19]

One suggested nickname for the stadium is The House that JT Built, in reference to Johnathan Thurston's role in making the project a reality.

Transport

A new pedestrian bridge over Ross River from Blackwood St is the planned connection between the Townsville CBD and the stadium.[20] A pedestrian bridge over Ross River already exists 200 metres south of the project site on Fletcher St. The Townsville railway station is located approximately 300 metres from the Fletcher St pedestrian bridge and 500 metres from the stadium site. Several bus stops also surround the site, with a new main city bus terminal about to start construction on Ogden St which will be within walking distance of the new stadium.

References

  1. ^ https://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/major-projects/north-queensland-stadium.html
  2. ^ http://www.insidesport.com.au/league/news/cowboys-new-stadium-design-revealed--445484
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Templeton, Anthony (10 December 2014). "Labor's $100 million stadium pledge". Townsville Bulletin. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Templeton, Anthony (14 January 2015). "LNP to pledge $150m for stadium in Townsville CBD". Townsville Bulletin. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  6. ^ "Campaign for new north Queensland stadium builds after Johnathan Thurston's grand final comments". ABC News. 7 October 2015. 
  7. ^ Galloway, Anthony (28 April 2015). "Council to buy super stadium site in Townsville CBD". Townsville Bulletin. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  8. ^ Galloway, Anthony (15 May 2015). "Prime Minister Tony Abbott tells his government to investigate stadium funding". Townsville Bulletin. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  9. ^ Galloway, Anthony (22 May 2015). "Joe Hockey rules out funding for Townsville's CBD stadium". Townsville Bulletin. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Cameron Tomarchio (5 October 2015). "Johnathan Thurston says North Queensland deserves a new Townsville stadium after NRL grand final win". News.com.au. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  11. ^ "NRL premiers Cowboys demand new stadium for North Queensland". Couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  12. ^ Charlie Peel (4 November 2015). "Shorten promises $100m for stadium". Townsville Bulletin. 
  13. ^ "Palaszczuk Government commits extra $40M to deliver $140M for Townsville Stadium". 10 June 2016. 
  14. ^ Adam Gartrell (13 June 2016). "$100m for a local stadium? That's not pork barrelling, that's a bold vision, says PM". 
  15. ^ North Queensland Stadium construction to start
  16. ^ Countdown to kick-off
  17. ^ http://www.insidesport.com.au/league/news/cowboys-new-stadium-design-revealed--445484
  18. ^ "Stadium Northern Australia : National Centre for Indigenous Sporting Excellence" (PDF). Townsville.qld.gov.au. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 March 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  19. ^ North Queensland Stadium design
  20. ^ Templeton, Anthony (6 September 2014). "Major road upgrades in CBD will be built to ease traffic congestion around superstadium and entertainment centre in South Townsville". Townsville Bulletin. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
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