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Thursday, April 11, 2024

Council Firms Olympic Ambition

Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) has recently backed a submission to the Queensland Government’s 60 Day Independent Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Venue Master Plan Review concerning the potential renovation of the Toowoomba Sports Ground, also known as Clive Berghofer Stadium.

In alignment with Queensland Premier Steven Miles’ 60-day review, spearheaded by former Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, TRC was tasked with providing a submission on the prospective economic advantages arising from upgrading the Toowoomba Sports Ground.

TRC’s General Manager of Environment and Community Services, Nick Hauser, clarified that while the Council had resolved to submit their input to the State Government regarding the potential project, any decision regarding the upgrade’s progression rests solely with the State.

Hauser emphasised, “It is essential for the community to grasp that any enhancements to the Toowoomba Sports Ground will be at the discretion of the Queensland State Government, who possess and manage the venue and its adjoining land. Council does not have authority over whether the project moves forward or not.”

The proposed enhancements entail increasing the permanent spectator capacity at the ground from 2,400 to 5,000 seats, along with an additional 10,000 temporary seats, resulting in a total capacity of 15,000.

Present plans position the Toowoomba Sports Ground as one of three venues in Queensland outside of the south-east corner earmarked to host football/soccer matches, alongside Townsville and Cairns. The North Queensland Stadium boasts a capacity of 25,000, while plans are in place to elevate the capacity of Barlow Park in Cairns from 16,700 to 20,000.

TRC’s submission to the 60-day review led by Mr Quirk underscores various economic advantages that the Toowoomba region might enjoy should the State opt to proceed with upgrading the Toowoomba Sports Ground.

Hauser explained, “Council’s submission will outline the potential legacy and economic benefits that the region could receive should the Toowoomba Sports Ground undergo an upgrade by the Queensland State Government. The submission focuses on numerous direct and indirect legacy opportunities that could benefit Toowoomba if the State chooses to enhance their venue. It is distinct from the State’s own Project Validation Report, which is presently in progress.”

The potential development of the Toowoomba Sports Ground into a larger stadium raises questions about the future of the sporting clubs utilising the surrounding land, including the Toowoomba Bowls Club, Toowoomba Croquet Club, and The Range Tennis Club.

As part of the review process, Council also had the chance to spotlight the Toowoomba Showgrounds and Equestrian Centre as a potential alternate Olympic and Paralympic Venue, given the appropriate investment by the State Government.

Hauser noted, “Council has previously extended financial support for a completed business case concerning the Showgrounds upgrade, which could transform it into the Toowoomba Equestrian Centre of Excellence.”

TRC’s submission to the Queensland State Government has been lodged, and further details about the review process into Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic venues can be found at the statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/industry/brisbane-2032 website.

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