Banyule Mayor Cr Tom Melican said the stadium would be built as part of the development of the University’s major new Sports Park, now in the design phase, and was very good value for rate payers and sporting clubs.
“Under this agreement, Banyule’s sporting clubs will enjoy 162 hours of court time per week, with only a maximum of 14 weeks each year, to be mutually agreed between sporting clubs, Council and the University, when the courts may be required for university examinations, maintenance and events.”
La Trobe University Vice Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the University was excited to be collaborating with Banyule Council to deliver a new indoor stadium for the community in Melbourne’s north.
“We welcome Banyule Council’s support and financial commitment towards the development of this much needed facility. The indoor stadium is part of a proposed world class Sports Park and major sporting precinct that will benefit the local community, elite sports people and researchers,” he said
“The University is currently undertaking the detailed design work for the stadium and we expect it to be completed and open for operation in the second half of 2019."
Cr Melican said Banyule’s existing facilities were at capacity during peak times with the limited access to courts impacting sports participation levels.
“While Council initially identified the former Banksia Community Stadium in Bellfield as the site for a Council built four court regional community stadium, committing $7 million towards the project, it was unsuccessful in obtaining contributory funding, including from the State Government, or other partnership arrangements for the $11.5 million project,” he said.
“With this partnership arrangement, Council does not have the very high capital and operational costs associated with building and managing its own stadium and Banyule’s sporting clubs still get guaranteed access to state of the art facilities. Financial modelling indicates the saving to Council over the 20 year agreement will be $6.75 million,” Cr Melican said.
Cr Melican said that as part of the agreement Council would contribute to the design of the stadium, ensuring it met community need. He said court costs would also be in line with costs at Council’s facilities.
“The current lack of available courts, relatively high occupancy level of existing facilities, the growth in participation in these sports and anticipated future demand, particularly for basketball and netball, and population growth all make it critical to provide these additional indoor sports courts,” he said.
“This partnership with La Trobe University strengthens our existing relationship, one which we are hopeful of continuing to build on for the benefit of the Banyule and wider community.”
Cr Melican said Council would now look at other community use opportunities for the former Banksia Community Stadium site as part of its wider work on developing the Bellfield Precinct Master Plan.