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Park lands authority flags "concerns" about city stadium impact

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The authority that advises the Adelaide City Council on park lands matters is set to demand answers from the Marshall Government about its mooted city sports stadium, with a proposed motion flagging “concerns” about the impact on “publicly accessible open space”.

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But despite previously asserting it was “actively planning additional major inner-city and sporting entertainment infrastructure”, the Government was today playing down the plan, telling InDaily: “At this stage no sites are being actively considered.”

The Adelaide Park Lands Authority will meet on Thursday night, with member Stephen Forbes – a former director of Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens – moving a motion requesting a briefing “at the earliest possible opportunity” regarding sites under consideration for the proposed second city stadium.

Two riverbank sites are believed to be at the forefront of considerations, one on the railyards on the southern bank, the other adjacent Memorial Drive on the northern side.

The proposed motion reads: “The Adelaide Park Lands Authority is aware that the State Government is considering a new stadium for Adelaide and [is] concerned that the proposed site might be within the Adelaide Park Lands. As such, the Authority requests a briefing at the earliest possible opportunity regarding sites under consideration.”

It adds that given the park lands “already host Adelaide Oval, the Tennis Centre, two hotels, approximately 200 hectares of licensed playing fields, a hospital and other public infrastructure… the Authority is concerned about the impact of further built form on the publicly accessible open space provided”.

Competing plans for a new stadium have long been in the works, with the Adelaide Venue Management Corporation understood to be pushing an option adjacent Adelaide’s new health precinct that would include the sale of the Entertainment Centre and Coopers Stadium.

The Marshall Government first signalled its interest in pursuing one of the options when it opened parliament last month, with a speech by Governor Hieu Van Le noting: “My Government is actively planning additional major inner-city and sporting entertainment infrastructure.”

However, asked today whether a briefing would be provided to the Park lands Authority if requested, and to what extent either plan would encroach on existing open space, a Government spokesperson said in a statement: “The State Sports Infrastructure Plan is looking at a range of options and ideas from key stakeholders about future infrastructure projects – including a new inner city stadium.”

“But at this stage no sites are being actively considered,” the statement added.

“If and when we get to that point a comprehensive consultation phase will occur.”

Forbes noted the mooted stadium was “obviously something the Government has brought to people’s attention” and the Authority was “naturally” keen to understand the detail.

Asked whether he held concerns about the potential park lands impact, he said: “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Fellow authority member and Conservation Council CEO Craig Wilkins said he would support the motion.

“Part of our brief is to keep a look out for overall impact, and there do seem to be a series of developments proposed – or already underway – that do have a cumulative increase in building on the park lands,” he said.

Deputy Lord Mayor Alexander Hyde, who is also on the panel, said he would also back the motion, noting “I’d always be happy to have more information”, despite ambiguity about how well progressed the proposal was.

He said he was “particularly interested” to hear about the Stadium Management Authority-linked proposal on Memorial Drive, which appeared to have a bigger footprint on public space.

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