BY SOPHIE STOCKMAN
Community members are being kept in the dark about important issues associated with the $729 million Allianz Stadium redevelopment project.
The Sydney Cricket Ground Trust (SGCT) privately owns the Allianz Stadium site, unlike stadiums at Olympic Park and Parramatta, which come under the NSW government.
Saving Moore Park president, Michael Waterhouse, has expressed concerns that the SCGT’s private ownership of the land will allow them to bypass community consultation and environmental regulations.
Under the SCGT’s own act of parliament they are the only body not required to complete an Environmental Impact Statement for proposals.
The demolition of the stadium will mean that sporting facilities for SCGT members will no longer be accessible.
“We have found out that that there are plans being made by the SCGT to build another building to replace member’s sporting facilities, but nobody has been told about this proposal.”
“It’s wrong that the SCGT should be exempted from providing an Environmental Impact Statement.”
Membership fees for stadium club facilities will still apply, according to the SCGT, despite currently having no concrete plan about interim facilities.
A representative from the SCGT membership office has assured members that their fees will not be wasted.
“The temporary reciprocal facilities are unknown as of yet, but we can promise that all the facilities currently provided to members will be made available at another site for the duration of the redevelopment.”
Further concerns voiced by Mr Waterhouse include environmental pressures on Moore Park and the encroachment upon residential areas and public recreational space.
“You can’t jack hammer down an entire stadium without having issues with noise and dust.”
“But Infrastructure NSW know this is an issue and say it will be managed.”
Infrastructure NSW has conducted multiple public information sessions recently in regards to the stadium redevelopment project.
Mr Waterhouse is pleased with the level of consultation being conducted by Infrastructure NSW and is hoping that SCGT will follow suit.
“We want this building proposal to be under the official protocol as stipulated by Infrastructure NSW, which includes an Environmental Impact Statement.”
On Tuesday evening, Alt Media was turned away upon trying to attend one of these information sessions conducted by Infrastructure NSW.
Director of Corporate Communications, Kelly Goodwin, refused entry to one of our journalists, despite advertising that the information session was a public event.
Goodwin responded to Alt Media defending her decision on the premise that she was acting in the best interest of the community by excluding journalists from the event.
“The information sessions provide an opportunity for attendees to engage with members of the project team in a safe, confidential and calm environment.
This is so attendees can feel confident to speak freely when talking with the project team.”
Member of the Legislative Council, The Hon. Lynda Jane Voltz, MLC, was disgusted by the fact that Infrastructure NSW denied a journalist entry to the information session.
“Without journalists that aren’t running an agenda, there can be no public scrutiny”
Ms Voltz has called for the documents regarding the stadium demolition to be reviewed under Standing Order 52.
“The intention is to start demolition without any proper public scrutiny”
“Tax payers money is funding the project, so why is it then that only certain people are allowed to access information when it’s a state significant project?”
The Final Business Case by Infrastructure NSW summarised that the quantifiable economic benefits of a new stadium fall short of the economic costs.
Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, has voiced her opposition to splurging taxpayers money on a project that won’t bring public benefit.
In February she tweeted ‘The NSW Government think we’ve forgotten their plan to waste $2.5 billion on a stadium knockdown rebuild when communities across the state are crying out for local sports, health and education infrastructure.’
The average crowd size for Allianz Stadium in recent seasons has hit 40 per cent of the stadium’s capacity, sparking questions about whether rebuilding 40 000 – 45 000 seats is overzealous.
In the meantime, taxpayer’s money will go towards helping cover disruption costs to the Roosters, Sydney FC, and the Waratahs over the four-year construction process, which leaves the teams without a home ground.