The long-awaited new Canberra sports stadium could be built at Exhibition Park - rather than in the city - under the ACT government's new $14 billion infrastructure strategy.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr has also revealed the government has been approached by superannuation funds interested in potentially investing in a stadium project.
Mr Barr will unveil the government's new long-term infrastructure plan on Thursday, outlining the projects it believes are crucial to supporting the territory as its population shoots past 500,000 at the end of the 2020s.
The plan forecasts hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for new schools, hospital upgrades, public housing and future light rail stages - including extensions to Belconnen, Canberra Airport and Tuggeranong.
It does not unveil any new big ticket items, while many of those listed - including long-promised projects such as the new Canberra Theatre - are presented only with estimated costs and timeframes.
But the plan does throw up one major surprise, revealing the ACT government is considering Exhibition Park as the possible location for a new 25,000-seat sports stadium.
The government's planning for a new sports stadium has, until now, focused on two options: redeveloping the ageing Canberra Stadium in Bruce or building a new venue in the city centre.
An indoor rectangular stadium on the site of Civic pool has long been earmarked as the possible future home for the Brumbies, Raiders and, potentially, a Canberra A-League soccer team.
According to the new infrastructure plan, the Canberra Stadium rebuild and Civic pool options are still on the table, but they are now being examined alongside a sporting venue at the home of Summernats and the Royal Canberra Show.
The plan estimates the cost of a new stadium at between $250 million and $500 million regardless of location.
In an interview with The Canberra Times, Mr Barr said the Exhibition Park option had only emerged during planning for the new infrastructure strategy.
Mr Barr said the Flemington Road precinct - which includes 77 hectares of outdoor space - had a range of features which made it an attractive location for a new stadium.
"You have no shortage of [government-owned] land, you have a public transport connection with light rail running past it now, and it's geographic location is not too bad in terms of access points on major highways," Mr Barr said.
Mr Barr said the stadium would have to be built as part of a wider redevelopment of the EPIC precinct, which could include a separate venue for events and concerts.
The government has been assessing the future of EPIC since the start of the year, with the new plan showing it is keen to "maintain and strengthen" the precinct as a "hub for events and community activities".
Mr Barr said a Civic stadium remained enticing for different reasons, such as its central location and proximity to public transport.
But there were a number of logistical challenges which the ACT government would have to overcome.
The existing site is too small, meaning the government would need to secure Commonwealth support for a realignment of Parkes Way to free up more space.
The "physical constraints" of the Civic pool site also has implications for the type of playing surface used in the stadium.
Unlike at EPIC or in Bruce, a stadium on the Civic Pool site would have to run on an east-west orientation, which is not ideal for growing and maintaining natural grass.
Mr Barr said if natural grass was used, it would "cook" inside an indoor stadium during summer.
An artificial surface could be used as an alternative, but Mr Barr said it was unlikely that the NRL or Super Rugby would allow matches to be played on it.
"And you would not build something that they would not play on, so that's one of the other challenges that we need to contemplate," he said.
Mr Barr said there was no immediate rush to settle on a site given the Commonwealth has yet to resolve the future of the wider AIS precinct in Bruce.
The ACT government, which leases Canberra Stadium, has been keen to buy the facility and redevelop the surrounding land, with revenue to be used to fund a new sports venue.
Mr Barr has repeatedly stated the ACT government would not be able to build a new stadium until after 2024, when its $1 billion Mr Fluffy loan is due to be repaid to the Commonwealth.
Aside from canvassing options for a new stadium, the infrastructure plan calls for a new stage of the light rail network to be rolled out "roughly" every five years, starting with Civic to Woden and continuing with lines to Belconnen, Canberra Airport and, finally, Tuggeranong.
The plan also puts forwards two options to resolve years of debate about a new convention centre for Canberra.
The first option is for a "primarily or significantly" Commonwealth-backed development on the scale of the proposed Australia Forum. The alternative is an upgrade to the existing 1989-built convention centre.
The government has reserved city land for a large-scale convention centre capable of hosting major international conferences and events.
But the new plan acknowledges the ambitious development could not be delivered unless the Commonwealth supports the project in the same way it did the national museum and portrait gallery.
The Barr government has put the Australia Forum project on the backburner after its costs reportedly blew out to $900 million.
In the absence of federal funding. the plan suggest upgrading the existing convention centre, possibly alongside a new 7500-capacity space for concerts and performances.