A $12.5 million plan to upgrade Warrnambool’s Reid Oval so it can host AFL pre-season games will inject more than $88 million into the city’s economy over 25 years, a new report has revealed.
The city council released its business case for the long-awaited project to user groups on Tuesday night, which revealed the initiative could cost up to $12.5 million – more than the $6.91 estimated in February last year.
But the report, compiled with a number of specialised consultants, said that over 25 years, the economic impact would be $88 million, including 37 full-time equivalent jobs during a two-year construction period. It estimated 27 full-time positions would be ongoing and described the cost as a “compelling investment”.
The redevelopment would mean no cricket or football at the venue for two seasons each.
The business case examined four possible options, which included redeveloping to either a regional or elite standard. The report stated that AFL standards had been applied to the proposed priority improvements including the playing surface, lighting and interchange benches and changerooms.
Warrnambool City Council chief executive Bruce Anson said transforming the oval to a high regional standard was “attractive and would meet community needs and expectations”.
“A staged development with an initial investment of $9 million will achieve the desired infrastructure including an oval surface upgrade, 200 lux lighting and changerooms,” he said.
The proposed redevelopment will also include more seats, cricket training facilities and a new sporting hub to accommodate umpires and regional sporting bodies.
The council’s manager recreation and culture Russell Lineham said it was seeking $10.5 million from the state government, with a $1 million commitment from council and a further $1 million from other partners.
He said if state government funding was obtained, construction would start in 2021 and be completed by 2023.
Mr Lineham said $1.25 million was included in the project cost for the relocation of user groups during the construction stage.
He said a number of possible site options had been identified and that important measures would be taken to support temporary relocation. "We will be putting new facilities into clubs that are willing to host the relocated users and when construction is done, and the (Reid Oval) users move back, those facilities will stay," Mr Lineham said. The report has been presented to the state government.