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Findings and recommendations released after review of proposed Olympic venues

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A seal of approval has been given to the Olympic venues on the Sunshine Coast, paving the way for construction to start.

An independent review of proposed venues for the 2032 Games has essentially provided a green light for a new indoor sports centre, an upgraded stadium and an upgraded mountain bike facility.

The findings and recommendations of the 60-day review, led by former Lord Mayor of Brisbane Graham Quirk, were released on Monday.

The report said a controversial plan to rebuild the Gabba in Brisbane should be abandoned, and a stadium should instead be built at Victoria Park parklands in the inner city.

But Premier Steven Miles promptly ruled out both of those options and instead said the government will look at upgrades for Suncorp Stadium (to host the opening and closing ceremonies) and the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre, along with an enhancement of the Gabba.

“When Queenslanders are struggling with housing and other costs, I cannot justify to them spending $3.4 billion on a new stadium,” he told reporters.

The 78-page review also focused on other venues around South-East Queensland, and it shone a bright light on Sunshine Coast projects.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

It’s not known how much the venues will cost to build, but the report said they were worth pursuing and they would leave legacies in the growing region.

It said the proposed Sunshine Coast Indoor Sports Centre at Bokarina was necessary.

“The Sunshine Coast will continue to experience significant growth, and a new indoor sports facility will address some of the indoor court deficiencies in the region and has a strong legacy case,” it stated, before making recommendations.

“Progress the investment decision for the centre as a priority to maximise the legacy benefit for the community.

“Include sufficient storage and support spaces in the design of indoor sports centres to allow for use by multiple sporting organisations before and after the Games.

“Proceed to procurement as soon as possible to maximise the legacy benefit for the community.”

The centre, to be located within the Kawana Sports Precinct, is set to host the Olympic basketball preliminaries, with 6000 temporary seats.

Sunshine Coast Council will provide the land and some funding for the facility, which is expected to be used for a broad range of community uses and events. Council will also help with the displacement of existing sporting clubs.

The planned Sunshine Coast Indoor Sports Centre, top right, and upgraded Sunshine Coast Stadium, bottom left. Picture: Q2032

The report also favoured an upgrade to the Sunshine Coast Stadium, which is within the same precinct.

“The Sunshine Coast Stadium will have a strong legacy outcome and benefit, achieving operational efficiencies in a precinct with existing venues, and providing capacity for the growing region,” it said.

It recommended to: “Progress the investment decision for the Sunshine Coast Stadium as a priority to maximise the legacy benefit to the community.”

The stadium is earmarked to host Olympic football preliminary events, with 20,000 spectator seats (including 8500 temporary seats).

It’s expected that a planned heavy rail service to Caloundra, that connects with bus services to Kawana, will enhance accessibility during the Games and provide a lasting transport legacy for the region.

The close proximity of the indoor sports centre and stadium is also expected to lead to cost savings during construction and operation.

Related story: What the 2032 Olympic Games coup will mean for the Coast

The paper also commented on an improved Sunshine Coast Mountain Bike Centre, at the Parklands Conservation Park in Parklands.

“The proposed upgrade to the centre will provide value for money,” it said.

“It leverages existing uses, provides more capacity, and creates a tourism and commercial benefit.”

An upgrade of mountain bike facilities is expected at Parklands. Picture: Q2032

The review recommended to “continue with the upgrade project as scoped”.

The facility is earmarked to host Olympic mountain bike events, with 8000 standing spectators and temporary seating for 2000 spectators.

The report said the venue would support long-term plans for mountain biking, trail running, bushwalking, horse riding and multi-sport events.

Council will provide the land, deliver the project and manage the operation of the venue.

Related story: Call for Olympic funding to go towards entertainment centre

The report suggested that construction start on venues as soon as possible.

When the venues were announced early last year, it was expected that works would start on the indoor sports centre in 2025 and on the stadium in 2024.

The precinct at Kawana would include a new indoor sports centre and upgraded stadium.

The findings and recommendations for Sunshine Coast venues came after the State Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie asked Premier Miles through parliament: “Why the Sunshine Coast community was not consulted on the plan to build an international sports centre adjacent to an expanded Sunshine Coast Stadium, resulting in the displacement of the Kawana Dolphins (rugby league clubs)?”

Mr Miles said there had been discussions.

“I am advised that the council commenced consultation with Kawana Sports Precinct tenants, including the Kawana Senior Rugby League and the Kawana Junior Rugby League clubs, before the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games were awarded to Brisbane,” he said.

“Stakeholders, including impacted tenants, were engaged through the Queensland Government’s Project Validation Report (PVR) process, which provides an assessment of the project that helps the government consider a range of options before going through to the procurement and construction stages.

“The PVR also considers service needs, social impacts, economic impact and project cost and operating models.”

The Sunshine Coast is also set to host the Olympic marathon, race walk, road cycling and kitbeboarding events at Alexandra Headland, and have an athletes’ village at Maroochydore. They were not subject to review.

Former Paralympian and Sunshine Coast Games Legacy Plan Community Reference Group chair Bridie Kean told Sunshine Coast News last month that the region had plenty to gain via new and improved sports facilities.

“We’re a community that loves to be active and, as we grow, we want to see our kids have as many opportunities to be active as possible, and for that we need venues,” she said.

“I think they will deliver so much.”

Outgoing Sunshine Coast Mayor Jamieson and president of the Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee Andrew Liveris on the Sunshine Coast last year.

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