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Council backs Crows move to Thebarton

Football

West Torrens council has formally endorsed a potential move by the Adelaide Crows to new digs at a redeveloped Thebarton Oval.

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The Crows are eyeing off potential home bases for a long-spruiked move from West Lakes closer to the city.

Thebarton Oval leads the list, with tenant the Adelaide Footy League encouraging the move, as InDaily revealed last month.

The Crows have moved on from previous plans to build a new headquarters at the North Adelaide Aquatic Centre, after meeting strong opposition from some Adelaide City Councillors and parklands protection advocates.

But the West Torrens Council last night unanimously endorsed a motion put by mayor Michael Coxon that it “provides its in principle support for the relocation of the Adelaide Football Club to Thebarton Oval”.

The motion said the move, and council endorsement, was subject to the Crows “determining Thebarton Oval as their preferred location”, the club and SANFL agreeing on such a proposal and council “as land owner” endorsing any agreement reached by both entities “to cohabitate at Thebarton Oval”.

“Clearly we want to offer some certainty and security to both the Crows and SANFL, that should they wish to pursue this as an option, the council would welcome the Adelaide Football Club to the city and to Thebarton Oval,” Coxon told InDaily today.

“We see there’s an opportunity to expand the community use of one of our jewels in the crown, being Thebarton Oval – it would have significant commercial and community benefits.”

Asked about the Adelaide City Council’s approach to the Aquatic centre site, he said “I can’t really speak to what’s happened with Adelaide City Council other than to say we’d certainly welcome the Adelaide Crows with open arms”.

Coxon stressed that any development with Thebarton Oval “would be subject to two things – a planning application and, most importantly, an extensive community consultation”.

“I understand the Adelaide Crows are going through a process to determine what will be their preferred option – certainly, we’d like Thebarton Oval to be a preferred option,” he said.

“Obviously that requires negotiations to be held in the first instance between the Crows and SANFL, and that will be, I suspect, the next step – they need to come to some agreement first.

“But we don’t want council to be seen as an impediment – we want to encourage the process.”

He said he did not expect the ten-year upgrade plan to the north-south corridor announced in the state budget last week to impede the potential relocation in any way.

The Marshall Government earmarked $5 million on Sunday towards an $18 million facelift for Thebarton Oval, with its newly-released sporting infrastructure plan detailing the project “will deliver upgraded facilities and amenities including the realignment and upgrade of the oval to AFL women’s standards, new lighting for AFL broadcasting and the installation of a second oval, gymnasium and recovery facilities”.

SANFL CEO Darren Chandler said the organisation was “focused on moving forward with a Thebarton Oval upgrade to create a major talent and umpiring hub, as well as an AFLW-compliant venue”.

“The announcement on Sunday of a State Government contribution of $5million to this project plays a vital role in ensuring that can happen,” Chandler said.

“SANFL is the lease holder of Thebarton Oval so any decision with regards to the Adelaide Football Club, or any other entity, utilising the site, needs to be considered and approved by the South Australian Football Commission.

“The City of West Torrens has this week given in-principal support should this be something SANFL and the SA Football Commission wish to consider.”

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