Source: Ipswich First

Ipswich City Council is seeking a qualified consultant or consortium of specialists to develop a business case and concept design for a sporting, recreational and entertainment precinct – including a rectangular stadium at North Ipswich Reserve, for national NRL or A-League competition.

Council’s General Manager of Economic Development Ben Pole said North Ipswich Reserve is central to the city’s sporting landscape and has been subject to investigations pertaining to its development into a rectangular stadium – seating up to 20,000 people – since 2000.

“Such a stadium would provide a significant economic and social benefit to Ipswich, providing a platform to attract elite sporting events and major non-sporting events such as concerts and entertainment-style events,” he said.

“This project requires further investigations to determine council’s potential commitment to the progression of a sporting, recreational and entertainment precinct which includes a rectangular stadium.”

The timing of the Office of Economic Development report to council’s Economic Development Committee was also ideal as Ipswich has been mentioned in the national media this month in respect of another Queensland team in the NRL, with Ipswich a favoured location, and the continuing push for expansion clubs in the round-ball code, for both men and women.

“Additionally, the SEQ Council of Mayor’s investigations into the 2032 Olympic bid provide an opportunity to examine the feasibility of integral infrastructure for the Ipswich region,” Mr Pole said.

The budget for the business case is about $175,000.

Council had earlier this year committee $10 million to the early-stage development of the stadium, subject to conditions, including similar financial contributions from the State and Federal Governments.

The stadium was expected to cost between $215 million and $220 million, however an earlier feasibility study said it could be done in five separate stages.

Mr Pole said a redeveloped stadium would give council the ideal pitch for a new NRL or A-League franchise and it would also be suitable to host major events throughout the year.

“A local team representing the western corridor of Queensland could have a similar impact to the community in the same way the Western Sydney Wanderers FC has created an identity to Parramatta.

“Since their inception into the competition, Parramatta has had a 200 per cent increase in patronage at Pirtek Stadium, which included the council’s upgrade of the venue, hosting key community events and advocating to the NSW Government of the value of investment into the area.”

Council is expected to target some of the major national companies to prepare a business case and concept design next month.

“Delivery of the business case will enable informed decision making by support bids for football (soccer) and rugby league teams entry into national competitions,” Mr Pole said.