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Ballarat Council eyes off significant purchase of former John Valves site on Creswick Road The derelict John Valves site on Friday morning. Picture: Caleb Cluff.

The City of Ballarat is in discussion with the owners of the former John Valves factory site as it looks to consolidate the city's Major Events Precinct (MEP) in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games. The eight-hectare site has been empty since the demolition of the famous Ballarat factory in 2011 following the liquidation of the company.

 

It has changed hands several times and is now owned by a company called Guysgood Pty Ltd, a consortium of MOR Accountants principals and clients. Some remediation has taken place on the land, but it has effectively been a vacant block while sporting venues surrounding it have been continually improved.

Now, says City of Ballarat CEO Evan King, with the opportunity of the Commonwealth Games looming, it's time to fulfil the vision of the master plan for the MEP, involving the redevelopment of the old showgrounds site, the duplication of Creswick Road and the future of the long-dormant John Valves site.
 

The consideration of the purchase of the two sites, respectively 701-723 and 735 Creswick Road, went before councilors in camera at the meeting last Wednesday night.

Mr King said any exploration of negotiations was not possible, but the city was in discussion with a number of parties, including the state government, about the bringing the next stages of the MEP infrastructure to construction as the pressure of completion for the Commonwealth Games increases.

"As one of the top three priorities of the council, we're continuing to progress and to look at options around how we could acquire those pieces of land to form the Major Events Precinct," Mr King told The Courier"Obviously, the Commonwealth Games has the opportunity to fast track significant investment in in that precinct. The athletics is probably the biggest drawcard event of the Commonwealth Games. On finals nights, it will bring in 30,000 people. When you're bringing in 30,000 people for the Commonwealth Games, and although the athletics track will be in Mars Stadium, there certainly needs to be consideration of where we'll put a warm-up track; there's massive corporate, hospitality, merchandising requirements ... the Commonwealth Games comes with high-level security needs. So certainly this is the opportunity to look at how we can fast track investment into that precinct, and look at opportunities around land acquisition, so this the foundation of that being able to happen."

Around a quarter of the athletes and support personnel attending the games will need to be accommodated in Ballarat, meaning 1700 beds will need to be provided. Creswick Road will need duplication to allow for the increased traffic to the precinct.

The Courier understands the site is valued at around $10 million to $12 million according to the state's Valuer-General; however the market value could be more and there is no obligation on the owners to sell. While the state government could compulsorily acquire the land in the interests of providing certainty for the Commonwealth Games, it's believed that outcome is unlikely. There are current subdivision planning permits for industrial use on the site.

The Courier attempted to contact MOR Accountants.

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The Starter’s Gun on Victoria 2026

Later today, the Victorian Government hands down it’s State Budget.

Funds allocated toward preparations for the 2026 Commonwealth Games in mainly Regional Victoria and to stimulate are sure to feature in today’s announcements.

To what detail these announcement/s will feature Victoria 2026 be remains to be seen so keep an eye out.

Transport infrastructure announcments from which the people of Regional Victoria and also tourists, athletes and officials, stakeholders will benefit from may well be revealed today as well.

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Today, Vic State Budget snippets:

from ABC News Australia:

$3.5 billion in total will be spent on transport projects.

That includes $338 million for more train services, level crossing removals and Big Build initiatives, $993 million for road upgrades, and $250 million for 12 more V/Line trains on the Shepparton and Warrnambool lines.

The Commonwealth Games is another huge beneficiary, with $2.6 billion allocated between now and the games to develop infrastructure for the event.

As expected, the state's regional hubs will benefit from the Games spend, with new sporting and transport infrastructure to roll out as part of the event.

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Credit:  More than $2.5 billion committed to Victoria in preparation for 2026 Commonwealth Games - 3 May 2022 - Inside The Games

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Victoria is set to receive AUD$2.6 billion (£1.4 billion/$1.8 billion/€1.7 billion) of Government funding in preparation for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

The funding was revealed in today's state budget alongside a further AUD$111 million (£62 million/$78 million/€74 million) for tourism and support events.

The funding was revealed in today's state budget alongside a further AUD$111 million (£62 million/$78 million/€74 million) for tourism and support events.

The investment is part of a AUD$5.7 billion (£3.2 billion/$4 billion/€3.8 billion) commitment set aside for Victoria in the budget.

Hubs are set to be established in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland for the Games, with the Government hopeful that the newly created sports infrastructure and housing will leave a legacy for residents in the future.

The regional hubs will host athletes, officials and fans following an Opening Ceremony at Melbourne Cricket Ground, with Melbourne the gateway to more rural places in Victoria.

The State Government is predicting the creation of around 600 jobs before the Games in Australia, with 3,900 more during and 3,000 afterwards.

Regional Development Minister Mary-Anne Thomas has predicted that the multi-sport event will contribute more than AUD$3 billion (£1.6 billion/$2.1 billion/€2 billion) to the Victorian economy.

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"The Games will deliver more housing and other legacy infrastructure that will really boost regional and rural Victoria for decades to come," said Thomas.

The budget revealed that planning for competition venues is underway, with the Victorian Government eager to make use of existing facilities where possible to minimise costs.

"The Government is currently undertaking further scoping and due diligence of the proposed competition venues," the budget papers read.

"Additional sports and competition venues in regional Victoria, outside of the four hubs, are under consideration."

Just AUD$36 million (£20 million/$25 million/€24 million) is budgeted for this year, while AUD$222.6 million (£126 million/$157 million/€150 million) has been set aside for 2022-2023.

AUD$467.1 million (£264 million/$331 million/€315 million) has been allocated for 2023-2024, AUD$705.7 million (£399 million/$500 million/€476 million) for 2024-2025 and AUD$1.146 billion (£649 million/$813 million/€774 million) for 2025-2026.

Victoria 2026 is likely to take place in March to avoid clashing with the Australian Football League season.

The Australian state was awarded the Games last month following a successful exclusive dialogue period with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

It has a shorter timeframe to prepare as, under the original timetable published, the host city for 2026 was due to be chosen at the 2019 CGF General Assembly in Kigali in Rwanda.

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Shepparton will also host sporting and cultural events as part of the Commonwealth Games.

The above sentence was from a media release yesterday:    Games, Sports And Events To Supercharge Victorian Jobs - 3 May 2022 - Premier of Victoria.

This doesn’t rule in or rule out actual CW Games sports being held in Shepparton venues, it’s quite a generalised statement.  

We wait for further announcements as the organising committee is fully formed and get’s cracking.

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On 4/23/2022 at 5:24 PM, AustralianFan said:

Could we be looking at Mars Stadium in Ballarat in 2026 being given a Birmingham 2023 “Alexander Stadium” style upgrade like this?

It looks fabulous and while not over the top, would be a great legacy boost to Mars. Stadium.
 

 

A promotional video provides an illustrative concept of what the Mars Stadium precinct might look like. Although the image is perhaps a little unrealistic in that it would provide a massively lob sided stadium with a 25,000 capacity temporary scaffold stand and 5000 seats in the remainder of the arena. Keeping in mind that the image below is for illustrative purposes only and was used to promote the Games.

Of course we are aware that the Ballarat Council have requested $53 million to finish construction of new permanent stands to seat up to 16,000-18,000 at Mars Stadium which means that the scaffold stand would be more likely a 10-12,000 seater (representing one that would be about 60% of the height of the one depicted). The image below also shows the warm up track being temporarily placed on top of the North Ballarat Number 2 Oval, where as the warm up track will most definitely be a permanent track built South on the Showgrounds or to the North. The image below does not take into account new entry gates that have been constructed recently. As I said, don't get too excited the image is just to sell an idea. :)

Further the light towers depicted would definitely not be large enough to illuminate the arena. It is planned to spend $3.5 million to replace the existing 37m towers which apparently illuminate the arena to a miserly 300 lux with new 50 metre high LED fitted towers that will illuminate the arena to 1000 lux. They will be similar to the towers recently installed at Princess Park in Melbourne and what are about to be erected at the Whitten Oval in Footscray.

There is a budget of $2.6 billion for the Games of which about half would be spent of infrastructure (Stadiums, new housing and transport upgrades to and around the host cities) so it won't get done on the cheap as they want to leave good infrastructure as a legacy of the Games. ;)

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Image credit: Roogal (Bigfooty)

As I outlined in a previous post about what the design cues would be for the new permanent built features of Mars Stadium, we need to look no further than the rear of the existing Eureka Stand which is designed by Peddle Thorp with translucent triangular panels that are designed to be LED back-lit at night to provide different effects depending upon the event or the season.

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It's interesting to go back and to see how things evolved. Consider that this was GMHBA Stadium not even 18 years ago:

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Or we consider the different evolved ideas for Eureka/Mars Stadium over time:

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Original 2009 concept of a 20,000 capacity ground that included a 5000 capacity indoor exhibition arena.

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There was this concept from 2015 which became the basic framework for the current design of the stadium although the roof-work covering the stands and the rear design of the stands was re-worked after considerable backlash from the residents of White Avenue who complained that the stand would be too high and shadow their yards into the morning which is how the current Eureka Stand got its curved roof and triangular facade. The residents were happy with that compromise.

 

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7 hours ago, RooBlu said:

A promotional video provides an illustrative concept of what the Mars Stadium precinct might look like. Although the image is perhaps a little unrealistic in that it would provide a massively lob sided stadium with a 25,000 capacity temporary scaffold stand and 5000 seats in the remainder of the arena. Keeping in mind that the image below is for illustrative purposes only and was used to promote the Games.

Of course we are aware that the Ballarat Council have requested $53 million to finish construction of new permanent stands to seat up to 16,000-18,000 at Mars Stadium which means that the scaffold stand would be more likely a 10-12,000 seater (representing one that would be about 60% of the height of the one depicted). The image below also shows the warm up track being temporarily placed on top of the North Ballarat Number 2 Oval, where as the warm up track will most definitely be a permanent track built South on the Showgrounds or to the North. The image below does not take into account new entry gates that have been constructed recently. As I said, don't get too excited the image is just to sell an idea. :)

Further the light towers depicted would definitely not be large enough to illuminate the arena. It is planned to spend $3.5 million to replace the existing 37m towers which apparently illuminate the arena to a miserly 300 lux with new 50 metre high LED fitted towers that will illuminate the arena to 1000 lux. They will be similar to the towers recently installed at Princess Park in Melbourne and what are about to be erected at the Whitten Oval in Footscray.

There is a budget of $2.6 billion for the Games of which about half would be spent of infrastructure (Stadiums, new housing and transport upgrades to and around the host cities) so it won't get done on the cheap as they want to leave good infrastructure as a legacy of the Games. ;)

spacer.png

Image credit: Roogal (Bigfooty)

As I outlined in a previous post about what the design cues would be for the new permanent built features of Mars Stadium, we need to look no further than the rear of the existing Eureka Stand which is designed by Peddle Thorp with translucent triangular panels that are designed to be LED back-lit at night to provide different effects depending upon the event or the season.

spacer.png

spacer.png

spacer.png 

It's interesting to go back and to see how things evolved. Consider that this was GMHBA Stadium not even 18 years ago:

spacer.png

Or we consider the different evolved ideas for Eureka/Mars Stadium over time:

spacer.png

Original 2009 concept of a 20,000 capacity ground that included a 5000 capacity indoor exhibition arena.

spacer.png

There was this concept from 2015 which became the basic framework for the current design of the stadium although the roof-work covering the stands and the rear design of the stands was re-worked after considerable backlash from the residents of White Avenue who complained that the stand would be too high and shadow their yards into the morning which is how the current Eureka Stand got its curved roof and triangular facade. The residents were happy with that compromise.

 

Love this post Rooblue, very thorough, very considered.

Love the possible configurations and scenarios around a Mars Stadium upgrade and temporary grandstands at games time.

It would perhaps make sense (?) too have the Closing Ceremony at Ballarat Mars Stadium too as athletics are usually the last events. Bu then again, the schedule could be altered to allow athletes to travel to GMHBA Stadium in Geelong.

 

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9 hours ago, Victorian said:

I would be shocked if that was how Eurkea Stadium looked come 2026- surely they would upgrade the stadium to allow legacy benefits?

I think it’s early days with the final permanent stadium upgrade design but these concept designs are interesting. The final permanent legacy design will likely still need  to have the capability of add-on temporary grandstands to the existing permanent stadium, whatever that final design ends up being.  

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13 hours ago, Victorian said:

I would be shocked if that was how Eurkea Stadium looked come 2026- surely they would upgrade the stadium to allow legacy benefits?

I'm pretty sure that that is the plan. It is about leaving Eureka/Mars Stadium permanently larger and better equipped to stage larger scale events (sports, concerts, community festivals, pageants and displays). A study commissioned by the Andrews Government in 2018, managed by the Ballarat Council and conducted by Price, Waterhouse and Cooper made a number of recommendations which weren't publicly released but some snippets have leaked out over time. It is believed that the latest upgrades at the stadium (the entrance gates, the concreting of the hill, upgrades to the player change facilities etc.) were immediately prompted by the analysis of that study. The study also identified major long term objectives that included replacing the existing light towers and expansion of the stadium to hold 16,000. The Western Bulldogs were consulted as key stake holders in the study and they recommended that the stadium be expanded to 20,000 but agreed that it should not be a 20,000 capacity all-seater. It's believed that they agreed to a compromise of 15,000 seated and 5000 standing.

This was reinforced earlier this year when the Ballarat Council released their priority project of advocacy to both State and Federal politicians ahead of the elections see pages 6 and 16 of the linked PDF docucument: https://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2022-01/Priority Projects Advocacy Overview.pdf

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From today's Ballarat Courier

2026 Commonwealth Games: No word yet on infrastructure, Treasurer says

Cough up: State treasurer Tim Pallas in Ballarat on Friday, with Wendouree MP Juliana Addison. Picture: Lachlan Bence State treasurer Tim Pallas in Ballarat on Friday, with Wendouree MP Juliana Addison. Picture: Lachlan Bence

We could be waiting months until concrete details on how the state government's $2.6 billion for the 2026 Commonwealth Games is distributed to the regions. State Treasurer Tim Pallas, speaking in Ballarat on Friday, said governance committees for the games - less than four years away - had not yet been established.

"There's a process we'll have to go through - firstly we'll have to get the governance structures up and running around how the money is to be spent," he said. "Practically speaking we should be able to make some announcements over the next few months about where we we expect to see what events where - we do need to establish the governing committee, and they have to have some say in how that's done.

"The establishment of the committee is not yet complete, people are being brought in progressively, they'll need administration and support, but the principle reason to do all that is to give the Commonwealth Games committee some involvement and ownership over the choices and decisions that are made, but also to give some of the regional communities some engagement around what sports fit best into their local aspirations for the games."

It's understood Ballarat will be host to about 1750 athletes, coaches, and staff, for the athletics, boxing, and part of the Twenty20 cricket program, with more sports to be confirmed. A location for the village has not yet been determined, nor specific upgrades to existing venues and infrastructure.

While it's understood the City of Ballarat is in discussions to acquire the former John Valves factory site next to Mars Stadium, potentially to create new Commonwealth Games infrastructure, no further detail has been revealed.

Personally I think that it's best that decisions aren't rushed. To quote Abraham Lincoln, "If you're given 12 hours to cut down a tree, you should spend 11 hours sharpening the axe".

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23 minutes ago, TorchbearerSydney said:

Considering the huge interest in shooting in India the largest Commonwealth country, it would be crazy not to include it. ...Victoria has a few facilities, they are not expensive anyway.

They used Wellsford Rifle Range in Bendigo back in 2006. Also there is the option of Puckapunyal if the Federal Government are happy to allow access to its Defence rifle range complex.

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I would love to see this extended around 3/4 of the Mars Stadium perimeter. The original concept had coloured lights illuminating behind the white panels, in this case red, white and blue for the Western Bulldogs, but for the Comm Games they could be what ever the colour scheme is for the logo. Melbourne 2006 was predominately Lime Green, Orange and Light Blue.

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1 hour ago, RooBlu said:

I would love to see this extended around 3/4 of the Mars Stadium perimeter. The original concept had coloured lights illuminating behind the white panels, in this case red, white and blue for the Western Bulldogs, but for the Comm Games they could be what ever the colour scheme is for the logo. Melbourne 2006 was predominately Lime Green, Orange and Light Blue.

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That could be possible for the light matching the possible event logo.

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 If you must do this because no one else wants it, then make it Geelong, with Ballarat and Bendigo. No need to have it all the way out in Gippsland.

 

Geelong:

Athletics (and Ceremonies) at Kardinia Park (30,000-36,000)

Aquatics (including Diving) at Kardinia Park Aquatics Centre (5,000/2,000)

Netball at Kardinia Park Netball Centre (2,000-3,000, with a temporary/permanent roof)

 

Field Hockey at Hockey Geelong (3,000-5,000)

Lawn Bowls at Geelong Lawn Bowls Club (1,000-2,000)

Table Tennis at Table Tennis Geelong (1,000-2,000)

Badminton at Geelong Arena (2,000)

Weightlifting at Costa Hall (1,397)

 

Beach Volleyball - Temporary

Triathlon - Temporary

Marathon - Temporary

 

Ballarat:

Basketball at Selkirk Stadium (3,000)

Cricket at Mars Stadium (10,000-20,000)

Rugby 7's at Ballarat City Football Club (5,000-10,000)

Boxing at Ballarat Minerdome (2,000)

Track Cycling at Sebastopol Cycling Track (2,000)

BMX at Sebastopol BMX Club (2,000)  

Shooting                                               

Walks - Temporary

 

 

Bendigo:

Gymnastics at Bendigo Stadium (4,000)   

Squash at  Bendigo Exhibition Centre (1,000)     

Road Cycling - Temporary       

Mountain Biking - Temporary

 

 

Extensive use of temporary stands at existing venues. There's absolutely no need to have Gippsland venues, it's just too far away. If you're not going to have it in Melbourne, then just use Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.

Edited by Lord David
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