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Public won't be consulted on Crows’ park lands build – for now

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Adelaide City Council has rejected a call for an immediate public consultation on the Adelaide Crows’ bid to build a multi-million dollar sporting facility in the park lands, after it was argued doing so would constitute a “political stunt”.

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Councillor Robert Simms last night failed to gain support for public consultation on an unsolicited bid from the Adelaide Football Club to build a “sports and community centre” in Park 2.

The council has confirmed it received an unsolicited bid from the club, with councillor Mary Couros revealing at last night’s meeting that the council had agreed in confidence to progress to the second stage of the proposal.

According to the council, that would involve “detailed consideration of the feasibility of the proposal, how it will be delivered, and whether it represents value for money”.

Talks have slated the city council-owned Adelaide Aquatic Centre – which has long-required costly renovations – as the preferred site for the sporting facility.

However, no firm decision has been made as to where on Park 2 the Crows or council would prefer the facility to be built.

“It was very clear to us when the Crows approached us and asked us whether we’d align with the bid to put their headquarters in North Adelaide,” Couros told the council chamber.

“In the meeting we all agreed that they could go ahead and progress with Stage 2.”

Council’s director of services Steve Mathewson confirmed that the council had resolved to continue considering the proposal.

The Advertiser reported last month that the Adelaide Football Club wanted to spend $60 million to build a “state-of-the-art training and administration facility in North Adelaide”, after the Federal Government pledged $15 million towards the project.

“The Adelaide proposal gives the possibility for an all-new modern aquatic centre and fitness facility to be built in North Adelaide servicing the broader Adelaide community,” South Australian senator Simon Birmingham said in the report.

Simms told last night’s meeting that the current progress of the bid and the looming federal election warranted an immediate public consultation.

“The park lands shouldn’t be used as a pawn in the federal election campaign,” he said.

“In the height of the politics that will come with the federal election, I think it’s really, really critical that we take pause and we consult with our community before this is progressed any further.”

But fellow councillors Houssam Abiad and Alexander Hyde slammed Simms’ proposal as a “political stunt”.

They said the proposal before the council did not have enough detail to warrant a community consultation.

They also said the public would still be guaranteed a consultation at a later stage in the bid process.

“What this motion will do is just set out a frenzy for no reason whatsoever,” Abiad said.

“We will set out on a witch hunt, nothing else.”

Hyde said Simms’ proposal was “grossly irresponsible”, but he said he was opposed to the Crows building an “aberration” on the park lands.

Council’s CEO Mark Goldstone told the chamber the council was yet to receive a detailed proposal or business case from the Adelaide Football Club.

He confirmed the council would eventually consult with the public.

“We will consult with the community when we have enough detail so the community can make an informed decision,” he said.

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