An artist's impression of what the new Perth stadium at Burswood could look like
|Location||Burswood, Western Australia|
|Owner||Government of Western Australia|
|Capacity||60,000 (with potential to be increased to 70,000)|
|Fremantle Football Club (AFL) (planned for 2018–)
West Coast Eagles (AFL) (planned for 2018–)
Western Force (Super Rugby) (planned for 2018–)
Perth Stadium is a planned multi-purpose stadium in Perth, Western Australia to be built in Burswood by a consortium led by Brookfield Multiplex. The announcement of the Burswood location in June 2011 followed a series of earlier proposals for the stadium, including locations in Subiaco and East Perth.
In 2003 the Government of Western Australia development of a Major Stadia review project to examine the future of major sporting venues in Western Australia. As part of the review a taskforce was appointed chaired by John Langoulant, Chief Executive of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and it released its final report in May 2007. The report recommended the construction of a new 60,000 seat stadium at either Kitchener Park (which adjoins Subiaco Oval) or in East Perth, which would be suitable for Australian rules football, cricket and also rectangular-field sports such as soccer and rugby. The taskforce recommended against the further development of Subiaco Oval, which would be demolished. It also recommended against building the new stadium at the site of Burswood, stating that "The development costs at the Burswood site would be significantly higher due to local site conditions and the need for significant upgrades to transport infrastructure."
Plans for a new stadium at Subiaco
In July 2007 the Government of Western Australia announced its preference to build a new 60,000-seat stadium rather than re-develop Subiaco Oval, and in early 2008 it confirmed that Subiaco Oval would be demolished for the new Perth super-stadium to be built next door at Kitchener Park. This site was chosen ahead of the other suggested site at the old East Perth Power Station, which was set aside to house a new $500 million museum.
The new stadium at Subiaco was scheduled to be built between 2011 and 2016, with the majority of the stadium to be completed in 2014. Subiaco Oval was to be demolished between 2014 and 2016 to allow the end of construction on Perth Stadium. The staged construction would have allowed for football to be played at the new venue by 2014, when the stadium was two-thirds completed with an initial capacity of 40,000 seats.
Stadium plans suggested its playing surface would have been oval in shape to accommodate Australian rules football and cricket games. The stadium was also expected to have retractable seating which would have reconfigured the venue to make it suitable for rectangular-field sports codes, such as soccer and rugby. These retractable seats were to number 22,000, and were to be situated along the touch lines and behind the posts in the rectangular configuration. With an overall planned capacity of 60,000, Perth Stadium would have been Western Australia's largest sports venue, and it was designed to be built such that the capacity could be increased to 70,000 if needed in the future.
The stadium was expected to be primarily used for Australian rules football with the ability to host cricket, rugby union, rugby league and soccer matches. It was planned that it would be the home ground for the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers, the two Western Australian teams in the Australian Football League. It was also to be the home ground for Perth's Super Rugby rugby union team the Western Force, and possibly host rugby union Test matches, soccer and rock concerts.
Proposed stadium site moved to Burswood
Following the election of a new State Liberal party Government under Colin Barnett, the new stadium's plans were scrapped in early February 2009. Barnett stated that a new stadium would not be considered for at least two years. As a result of Australia's failed bid for the 2018/2022 World Cup, $250 million in potential federal funding for a new stadium was also withdrawn in December 2010.
In June 2011 the State Government announced that the new stadium would be built on the northern section of the Burswood Park golf course. It stated that the Burswood site was preferred because it was unconstrained by surrounding developments and had the additional benefit of being government-owned. It would also allow for a special events four-platform train station to be built and could be connected to the CBD via a pedestrian bridge across the Swan River to East Perth. A car park will not be built to service the stadium, with visitors expected to either park in the city and walk across the bridge or use public transport.
As with the earlier plans for the new stadium at Kitchener Park, the stadium is intended to seat 60,000 spectators, with potential for this capacity to be extended to 80,000 in the future by adding a third tier along one wing and another tier on the opposite side of the ground each holding 10,000 seats. It is expected that this would give it the third-biggest capacity of any stadium in the country.
The dimensions of the stadium will be 165 metres long and 130 metres wide, which is five metres longer than both the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, but 10 metres shorter than Subiaco Oval. It will be a multi-purpose facility able to hold not only sporting events such as Australian rules football and major international rugby, cricket and soccer games, but major cultural events such as concerts. It is envisaged that the stadium will be similar to Etihad Stadium, with comparable views, amenities and comfort.
The Government stated that planning for the new stadium at Burswood is due to completed by mid-2012, with construction commencing in 2014 and scheduled for completion in 2018. It appointed the firm Populous as the project's architectural consultants.
The earlier design for Perth Stadium at Kitchener Park in Subiaco was expected to reach $1.1 billion, including $800 million on construction of the stadium itself and $300 million on associated infrastructure, property acquisition, escalation, transport infrastructure and other costs. Construction of the new stadium would have involved moving 27 private residences and moving residents from another 66 state housing properties surrounding Subiaco Oval. These state housing tenants would have been relocated within the Subiaco area. The project was going to be funded by the Government of Western Australia. Expected construction costs were based on a December 2008 start, with a four-year completion period.
Following the Barnett Government's announcement to move the site of the proposed stadium to Burswood, it stated that the stadium would cost around $700 million, with an extra $300 million allocated to public transport works. However, in December 2011 Premier Barnett stated that it was too early to say what the final cost would be, explaining that "No one can put a price on it until it's designed, until it goes out to tender".
The previous Government's Major Stadia Taskforce had earlier put the total cost of the Burswood stadium option, including transport needs, at $1.147 billion. This higher cost, comparative to the sites at Subiaco or East Perth, was mainly "due to the need to provide substantial transport infrastructure as well as the additional costs associated with site conditions (i.e. reclaimed flood plain and site previously used as the Perth Municipal Rubbish Dump which included industrial as well as domestic landfill up until 1971)." In June 2011 the West Australian newspaper reported that due to an increase in construction costs since the release of the task force report in 2007, the total cost will be close to $1.5 billion, assuming work begins within two years. WA sports and especially football insiders are known to be gearing for even a 2020 launch for the new stadium and a substantial cost overrun of well past $1 billion.
The Australian Football League has agreed to help pay for Perth's new stadium at Burswood, although it has not revealed how much money it will contribute. However, the nearby Burswood Casino, which is expected to benefit commercially from the presence of the stadium, has not been asked by the Government to help meet the construction costs.
The site is located on the Burswood Peninsula, previously known as the Swan Portland Cement Site. The Swan Portland Cement Company Ltd. operated at the site from 1927 and James Hardie Industries operated at the adjacent site from the 1920s up until 1981. In its report and recommendations, Remediation and Redevelopment of the Swan Portland Cement Site, Burswood, (January, 1998) the Environmental Protection Authority, states "The current site is contaminated with asbestos waste from the James Hardie operations and cement kiln dust, kiln bricks and associated contaminated soil and hydrocarbons from the Swan Portland cement operations." In its report it estimates 750,000 m3 cement kiln dust on the site, the effects of which should be managed, with regard to its effects upon public health, groundwater and surface water. Three zones of asbestos contamination on the site were identified in the report; zone 1 having 68,000 cubic metres of broken and loose asbestos, zone 2 having 150,000 cubic metres of asbestos contamination up to 15 metres below ground level and zone 3 being 180,000 cubic metres of asbestos contamination within 600,000 cubic metres of cement kiln dust. The EPA report states that while undisturbed in the soil, the contamination poses no threat to public health but disturbing the site will result in airborne asbestos fibres and contamination from the soil. The EPA recommended a management plan for any disturbance of asbestos contamination to be conducted by the Town of Victoria Park. The Minister for Racing and Gaming is responsible for the site and the Burswood Peninsula will fall into new City of Perth boundaries created by the Local Council Mergers. In November, 2012, Victoria Park residents contacted the Health Department to notify them asbestos and other material had been unearthed by work on the southern parking lot of the Casino complex (Toxic Fears hit Burswood and Crown Casino site 8 February 2013 www.perthnow.com.au). Alarmed residents feared asbestos exposure to locals, park users and Casino patrons. Although the Health Department advised that no risk had been identified, stock piles were sprayed with hydromulch, windbreaks were put on fencing, contaminant levels were being monitored and paths and loose soil were sealed. The Premier's office advised that the Department of Building Management and Works were undertaking the project. The Health Department assured residents there was "no risk to the general public".
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