‘Boonie’ is a fan — but others yet to be swayed by Hobart’s roofed stadium design

Australia World

In short: 

Cricket Tasmania has welcomed new concept designs for Hobart’s proposed AFL stadium, and confirmed matches will be able to be played there.

But not all are convinced — with RSL Tasmania among those calling for more detail around the visual impact of the stadium.

What’s next? 

Sport minister Nic Street says further images will be released in the future.

Designs for a proposed Macquarie Point AFL stadium have won over Cricket Tasmania, but debate continues to rage over the contentious $715 million project.

On the weekend, initial concept designs for the stadium, which is a condition of Tasmania being granted its own AFL team licence, were released publicly.

Aerail view, Macquarie Point stadium concept, released July 2024.

An aerial view of the proposed Macquarie Point stadium near central Hobart.(Supplied: Tasmanian government)

The plans include a compact seating bowl design, timber facade and a fixed dome translucent roof, which the government said could host the world’s first indoor Test cricket match.

The roof, which had initially been mooted to be 40 metres, will be 51 metres above the playing surface at its highest point, allaying Cricket Tasmania’s concerns.

Cricket Tasmania chairman and former Test cricketer David Boon said he was excited about what the stadium could provide for the sport.

David Boon looks at the camera.

Cricket Tasmanian chairman and sporting legend David Boon says they’ll continue working with all parties as the design is finalised.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

“The bottom line is, yes, we will be able to play cricket there and we’re very much looking forward to it,” he said.

Boon said while testing needed to occur to ensure Test cricket matches would be able to be played, he was confident about the outcome.

“The positive thing is that the designers have taken into account the humidity factor and there will be flow of air in quite a natural way to eliminate that. We’re just going to have to test it first.

“It’ll be an absolutely wonderful asset for Tasmania.

“It will ensure that sport remains very much a high profile, and for me, the future of our kids and their dreams to be able to play sport for their own state can be far more ensured that they’ve got a venue to be able to do that.”

A satellite image a construction site.

The site at Macquarie Point is on reclaimed land and has served may purposes over its history.(Supplied: Nearmap)

Not all convinced by released designs

However two key groups set to be impacted by the stadium say the new design has not won them over.

Speaking on ABC Local Radio, RSL Tasmania state president Barry Quinn said the organisation was still concerned about the impact on the cenotaph, and sightlines from the area.

“You are going to be distracted by a structure that is directly behind the cenotaph, especially when we are conducting commemorations and commemorative services,” Mr Quinn said.

He said he’s asked for extra images showing what the visual impact on the cenotaph will be, as well as other significant points.

“What they’ve released over the weekend doesn’t show any impact, or what the impact on the cenotaph is,” Mr Quinn said.

People line up in front of the Hobart Cenotaph in the early morning light.

The RSL is concerned about whether the stadium will loom above, or behind, the cenotaph.(ABC News: Maren Preuss)

At its highest point, the stadium will be 54 metres above ground level, with its curved roof designed to reduce the height of the “edges” of the structure, according to the stadium designers.

This was intended to reduce the visual impact on the cenotaph.

The Royal Hobart Regatta Association also said more information was needed.

An aerial photo of a regatta stand and two wharfs over water.

The government must ensure housing is built at the regatta grounds to unlock Commonwealth funding, but plans haven’t been released.(ABC News: Maren Preuss)

Association president Ross Doddridge said he was in support of an alternative stadium proposed for nearby regatta point, which has previously been ruled out by the government.,

He said the government’s plan put the stadium “in the wrong place”.

“Nothing’s been shown about the impact on the actual regatta site,” Mr Doddridge said.

“My understanding is that the foreshore of the regatta area is to be turned into some form of housing but we know nothing about that.”

2 men and a woman standing outside in a carpark.

Sports Minister Nic Street (centre) and Macquarie Point Development Corporation CEO Anne Beach, say more details are expected in coming weeks. (ABC News: Luke Bowden)

Sport minister Nic Street says further images will be released “as soon as they’re ready”.

“We’ve consulted with the RSL on numerous occasions, I know that Macquarie Point Development Corporation have committed to continue that stakeholder relationship.

“I believe that the design that’s been presented is sympathetic to the area that we’re proposing to build it in with a nod to the past as well.”

He said the government would continue to engage with the RSL.

Local jobs must be prioritised, Labor says

Group of people chatting on green lawn with cameramen around.

Labor leader Dean Winter says it’s important Tasmanian jobs are prioritised.(ABC News: Ebony ten Broeke)

Labor leader Dean Winter said a local jobs plan was needed to ensure Tasmanians benefited from its construction.

“That may not be as the lead contractor, but certainly in subcontracting and contracting roles, making sure that locals are given first opportunity to work on the site,” Mr Winter said.

He said Labor was also eager to see more detail, including showing sightlines from different angles and ensuring the stadium was “constructible, that it’s affordable, and that the premier’s promises can be delivered”.

He said he’d hold the government to account over its promise to ensure private investment covers any cost overruns.

“The premier went to an election saying we’ve capped Tasmania’s spending at $375 million and we’re going to hold him to account for that.”

Labor announced it was no longer opposed to building a new stadium earlier this year, reversing its pre-election position.

Tasmanian community has its say

Across the weekend, reactions from the general public also flooded in.

Speaking on Facebook, user Adam Grover described it as an “absurd vanity project”. 

“Economic irrationality of the most basic kind”.

User Kathryn Mitchell took a different approach saying “this looks absolutely amazing. Well done to designers. Let’s get it built”.

Prominent Tasmanian lawyer Greg Barns also weighed in, saying the stadium was “an eyesore in a sacred place”.

The proposed stadium must pass the rigorous Project of State Significance process — then pass both houses of parliament — after it is submitted to the Tasmanian Planning Commission in the coming weeks.

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Posted 13h ago13 hours agoMon 8 Jul 2024 at 6:34am, updated 12h ago12 hours agoMon 8 Jul 2024 at 7:08am