AOC says to scrap Gabba redevelopment plans

Australian Olympic Committee president Ian Chesterman has supported calls to scrap the proposed Gabba redevelopment for the 2032 Brisbane Games, believing there are “more creative solutions” available.

Chesterman’s comments came a day after Olympic powerbroker John Coates also said to abandon plans for a $2.7bn rebuild because “it doesn’t stack up’’ financially.

Chesterman said the AOC supported the review of Games plans.

“The (International Olympic Committee’s) new norm process is designed to ensure the Games are both affordable and sustainable, with a strong preference for the use of existing or temporary facilities,” he said.

“We believe there are other, more creative solutions than rebuilding the Gabba for the Games which provide a legacy for our sports and even greater access for fans to an exceptional Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We will put these ideas to the review committee.”

Awaiting the findings of the review are the Brisbane Lions, who play their home matches at the Gabba.

While the Lions had no comment to make on Thursday, a statement issued by the club in November last year said it supported a Gabba redevelopment.

“The venue has been our home for the past 30 years and the redevelopment ensures it will be fit for purpose for the next 30 years,” Lions chairman Andrew Wellington said.

“As a club we’re likely to hit 60,000 members in 2024, we’re the hirer attracting the largest crowds, we’ve had seven sellouts this year and I have no doubt we will be filling the new Gabba on a regular basis prior to the Olympics and for years to come.

“We understand the need and also the wider benefits this project and associated urban renewal works will bring to the city and the wider precinct as a result of projects like Cross River Rail.

“There’s benefit here for commuters, event goers, new community spaces and the delivery of a commercial and a residential precinct inclusive of affordable housing opportunities.

“We look forward to receiving a more detailed Gabba update and a decision on the Lions’ displacement venue from government in the near future, recognising the needs of our many fans and the extended period of displacement.”

However, both the Lions and the Gabba’s other tenants, Queensland Cricket, baulked at being asked by the state government to contribute millions of dollars to help fund an upgrade to the Brisbane Showgrounds, which had been as the home ground for the Lions and the Queensland cricket team while the Gabba was being developed.

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