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New Canberra stadium will have a roof

An artist's impression of how the new stadium could look in Civic - minus the now guaranteed roof.

An artist's impression of how the new stadium could look in Civic - minus the now guaranteed roof.

The ACT government says the proposed CBD stadium will have a roof – it’s just a question of whether it will be a retractable roof or a fixed one.

It will be cold comfort for the 7023 Canberra Raiders fans and 14,020 ACT Brumbies supporters who braved rain, hail and freezing cold at Canberra Stadium on the weekend, but ACT sports minister Andrew Barr told The Canberra Times on Sunday a ‘‘roof is a certainty’’.

The government hopes to redevelop the Civic area down to Lake Burley Griffin, with a new stadium part of a decade-long project that is subject to an approved business model.

ACT sports minister Andrew Barr.

ACT sports minister Andrew Barr. Photo: Jay Cronan

The first step in the $200-300 million project is relocating the Olympic pool and then planning will begin on the stadium, with construction hoped to begin before 2020.

Barr said a roof was a necessity and would allow the stadium to be used for more than just sport, with concerts and other major events also possible year round.

He said having a retractable roof, similar to Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium, would be more expensive than a fixed one, which has been used in Dunedin.

The government was keeping in contact with the New Zealand authorities to ensure there were no turf problems related to being enclosed, Barr said.

‘‘A roof is a certainty, it’s just a question of what sort of roof, whether it’s Etihad-style – opening and closing – or a Dunedin-style – which is more of a greenhouse operation,’’ Barr said.

‘‘The other reality of why a roof is essential is it opens up the venue to many other events and activities and in order for it to be economic, and to be a viable business case, and in order to be able to leverage the private-sector investment, it will need to be used more than [the current] 25 times a year.’’

Barr said the stadium would also include onsite hotels and would create a greater vibrancy around Civic during major events.

Currently, crowds going to Canberra Stadium simply ‘‘drive-in and drive-out’’. But a new stadium in the city would allow people to frequent the bars and restaurants in Civic and provide a boost to the local economy.

It would also be set up as an ongoing concern and not just used on game day. Hotels, cafes and car parks would operate throughout the year and not leave it as an urban wasteland.

Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said this weekend's weather highlighted the need for a covered stadium, which  would be a boost to both them and the Raiders.

‘‘With the two primary teams in the town, the Brumbies and the Raiders, playing through winter ... I think a rectangular stadium with a roof on it is the only way to go,’’ he said.

‘‘We know from supporter feedback a city-based enclosed stadium would significantly increase our attendances.’’


  • This is a great idea and shows why the ACT government is one of the few to show vision in this country. If it is done properly this will be a god send for the ACT economy as large events will follow. Anyone who has been to millennium stadium can see the impact having a stadium close to the heart of the city can have.

    Date and time
    July 22, 2013, 6:57AM
    • What vision? It's supposedly a rectangular stadium.... not capable of AFL or cricket. I would have thought the ACT Govt would have learnt a lesson from the under-utilsed Canberra Stadium.

      It should be a multi-purpose and re-configurable stadium like ANZ in Sydney.

      The extra cost will be covered by the much higher utilisation, all year round, which financially struggling clubs like Brumbies and Raiders would appreciate when their share of the (lower) costs are passed on.

      Date and time
      July 22, 2013, 1:08PM
    • @Oblivious, I think your bias towards AFL is showing. The fact is that watching Soccer, League or Union on a round oval is lacklustre - a rectangular stadium is needed and given that Canberra has two professional teams based here (with the prospect of soccer in the future), coupled with the fact that Manuka Oval is already a great venue for AFL and cricket (talk about barely used), a rectangular stadium is the way to go.

      Date and time
      July 22, 2013, 2:50PM
    • Ummm, that's what Manuka is for.

      Stir the pot
      Date and time
      July 22, 2013, 3:35PM
    • Noooooooooooo. The main problem with Canberra stadium is it is a converted athletics track. The new stadium needs to be rectangular with the spectators close to the play. Leave AFL (and cricket) at Manuka where they belong. Both have traditionally gone hand in hand after all.

      Date and time
      July 22, 2013, 4:25PM
    • @Chris. My bias is towards as many as possible of the ACT community getting value for money for the life of the stadium.

      In such a small city with limited funds, to focus a brand new all-weather stadium on two or three sports is farcical... with more utilisation, across more sports, gaining sponsorship from the peak sporting bodies as well as corporate sponsors... the ACT wins and so do the sports.

      Date and time
      July 22, 2013, 5:27PM
    • manuka is a good stadium for cricket and footy if you don't know anything better, where do you start and end with the issues. It reflects the old run down suburbanVictorian grounds pre AFL days. Oblivious is right a multipurpose stadium is more visionary for our long term needs, maximize use, provide economies and you could sell manuka for development which would re-coup millions$

      Date and time
      July 22, 2013, 8:33PM
  • A roof is an absolute necessity in Canberra's climate....but it must be retractable. Afterall, we do enjoy the beautiful warms days at the start of the NRL and Super Rugby seasons....and furthermore with an A-League soccer team in future, the roof must be retractable for summer games.

    And did I mention, the stadium MUST BE RECTANGLE!!!

    Date and time
    July 22, 2013, 9:33AM
    • As long as the rectangle is long enough for a quarter mile dragway I see no problems.

      blindsided breakaway
      Date and time
      July 22, 2013, 12:21PM
    • It practically never rains in Canberra, so I can't see the obsession with having a roof over the whole thing. A complete shell of walls and roof coverage over the actual stands should be adequate for protecting people from the worst of the wind and any small showers.

      Modelling it on any of the more recent English Premier league grounds should work fine, none of which have a roof over the whole thing, and needless to say it rains there a lot more than here. Liberty Stadium in Swansea is a particularly good model, 20 000 seats and somehow only set them back 27 million quid.

      Date and time
      July 22, 2013, 1:17PM

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England 4 2 2 0 58 11
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