Whitten Oval Redevelopment Plans (UPDATE: No AFL Games)

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Draft Pick

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For those of you saying the Whitten Oval doesn’t bring any nostalgia, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I feel the nostalgia every time I watch the women’s or the reserves down there. I love going there for any event, brings back memories of the 80s and 90s for me as a kid. I would love even one AFL game a season there, as would a lot of people I know.
We are talking about if the stands are reconfigured.

If that happens then it may lose its nostalgia to an extent.

Yes you are correct though at the moment it still has the vibe of previous decades and it is great to walk around.
 

dogwatch

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For those of you saying the Whitten Oval doesn’t bring any nostalgia, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I feel the nostalgia every time I watch the women’s or the reserves down there. I love going there for any event, brings back memories of the 80s and 90s for me as a kid. I would love even one AFL game a season there, as would a lot of people I know.
Millennials could be excused if they don't feel much connection to the ground. Last AFL game there was in the mid-90s. Mind you they should have been out there on the hallowed turf with us on 2 October 2016.

Anyway, one game a year would be great and it is probably what Ameet had in mind when he said "return the occasional heritage game to the venue". Maybe the heritage round every year would be played at VUWO? Or even every second year if we have to play some of them away.
 

Freshwater

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I love the ground and the nostalgia that runs through my gains every time I go there. But I’d also love the Whitten stand replaced. I would love a modern stand there. Closer to the action. Views to the city, west gate bridge, some of those iconic palm trees and across some of the western suburbs. I’ve actually dreamed of this since I was a kid. I get jealous of what Geelong has.
 

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DognBones

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Irrespective of how many games will be played there and against which team/s, 18000 doesn't factor in any growth in membership or supporter numbers. If we currently have 40000 members, I'm sure most of the Melbourne based members (let alone non-members and some opposition supporters) would want to attend the game/s which would make 'getting in' a real issue.
 

Pugz89

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It will never happen. The money simply doesn't exist and if the state government coughed up more than the $1mill already committed there will be a queue of clubs with their hands out.
Geelong has already led the way, successfully might I add.
 

Freshwater

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With Melbourne being now a super city size wise. For good and for bad it is what it is. And that increase has been so rapid. The idea of consolidation of venues only 25 years ago must now be reimagined to localised areas within this new metropolis we live in. There is definitely a need for such a hub in the west. Werribee should have set something up like this too. The rapid rise out west is huge.
 

grassman75

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What are we, GWS?
We were in 1997...the last game ever...well maybe not..and we ran out of VB. It was 4 degrees and it was fan ******* tastic.

But you wouldn't remember that whipper snapper..were you even born? LOL

P.S it doesn't count and it would only be mock outrage if we ran out of Two Birds these days
 

DognBones

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Some of us might remember that in the mid-sixties the club made an application to Sunshine Council to move all of its operations, including as a playing arena to Skinner Reserve in Braybrook. The application was knocked back and we remained at Western Oval. There was definitely more scope for expansion and development potential at Skinner but it was hampered by not being close to a railway station. It would have been interesting if this proposal had gone ahead and we actually moved to the site because there was certainly enough room for a much bigger stadium than either the current Whitten Oval or its successor after development.
I remember attending practice matches on the ground but at that time it was very unappealing - a barren, dry, open area - a bit like North Ballarat Oval before recent development.
 

Ash1337

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The new stadium would certainly attract players to joining. As well as being able to include real estate investments with the new residential towers which would be very appealing to players who are looking for post career incentives. The deal that got Shiels to join Essendon had real estate investment opportunities attached to it. Hell the reason Nathan Brown left the dogs for tigers was because he was promised investments in real estate.

On SM-G975F using BigFooty.com mobile app
 

NBates

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Some of us might remember that in the mid-sixties the club made an application to Sunshine Council to move all of its operations, including as a playing arena to Skinner Reserve in Braybrook. The application was knocked back and we remained at Western Oval. There was definitely more scope for expansion and development potential at Skinner but it was hampered by not being close to a railway station. It would have been interesting if this proposal had gone ahead and we actually moved to the site because there was certainly enough room for a much bigger stadium than either the current Whitten Oval or its successor after development.
I remember attending practice matches on the ground but at that time it was very unappealing - a barren, dry, open area - a bit like North Ballarat Oval before recent development.
No transport direct to ground either - well, probably a bus but that's not like a train direct to your door

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
 

Freshwater

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Some of us might remember that in the mid-sixties the club made an application to Sunshine Council to move all of its operations, including as a playing arena to Skinner Reserve in Braybrook. The application was knocked back and we remained at Western Oval. There was definitely more scope for expansion and development potential at Skinner but it was hampered by not being close to a railway station. It would have been interesting if this proposal had gone ahead and we actually moved to the site because there was certainly enough room for a much bigger stadium than either the current Whitten Oval or its successor after development.
I remember attending practice matches on the ground but at that time it was very unappealing - a barren, dry, open area - a bit like North Ballarat Oval before recent development.
That was an idea following StKilda’s move ‘out’ to Morrabin and the VFL to Waverley. Melbourne was growing and the football world was moving too. Richmond moved to the MCG and Hawthorn to Carlton.
 

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Roogal

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It’s staggering how people still can’t see the link between AFLW, Ballarat and things like this or being handed the surrounding land by the State Gov. Great lesson here for some in how the world actually works.

You can directly thank our AFLW team and our Ballarat venture for this even being on the cards at all. Some of you are so short sighted you probably can’t see the end of your nose.

Likewise, if you’re saying this is a bad idea because the initial capacity is slightly lower than you think it should be you’re missing the whole ******* point. And you’re probably walking into doors given that you can’t see more than an inch in front of you.

Huge step in a great direction our club if this comes off.
I agree completely. Many here are getting carried away with the nostalgia or romanticism of having a dedicated competition home ground and not seeing the real point of this developlment. While the VU WO will always remain the spiritual homeland of the WBFC the reality is that the ground is being developed as a VFL/AFLW hub and the Bulldogs website clearly states that the ground be used to host one H&A game per year most likely during the heritage round. The Bulldogs made a major pitch to the State government last year for funding based on the ground becoming an AFLW and community hub. This was why the land was granted for expansion, additional funds provided for upgraded lighting, new facilities for AFLW and the new scoreboard. It is unlikely that the ground would be built for a capacity greater than stated because Ikon Park (with 20,000) remains the preferred AFLW headquarters and will see significant upgrading too.

In short, the VU WO development adds another important string to the WBFC developing its AFLW and consolidating its VFL program in addition to securing its long term viability as a competitive Victorian based AFL entity. North Melbourne are presently funding similar expansion at Arden Street for exactly the same reasons.

Lost in this conversation thread has been the mention of the community and University aspect of this development. The development of VU WO is not just about providing a new stadium exclusively for the WBFC. It will provide community sports facilities, potentially a sports/sports medicine campus for the VU. Linked to this development will likely be surrounding residential aspects to help fund the project.

Implications for Ballarat. In short, the Bulldogs website re-inforces what the Ballarat Council's Community Development Director stated on Friday, that the Bulldogs are definitely commited to 2 H&A games in per season Ballarat at least until 2021 and have indicated their commitment to Ballarat as part of a long term plan to consolidate themselves as the primary AFL representative team in Western Melbourne and greater Western Victoria. The State government last year announced a commitment to support AFL games in Ballarat out to 2028.

Mars Stadium ongoing development. The Whitten Oval re-development is in many ways similar to and linked to the Mars Stadium ongoing development. The development of Mars Stadium is also being linked to a similar process as what is occurring at VU WO. Mars Stadium is being built as part of a wider community hub including linkages to the local Federation University, being surrounded by upgraded football, netball, basketball and cricket facilities, and the new indoor sports and events centre under construction (Pictured below). The main stadium is accessed by various football leagues, AFLW for pre-season, the TAC Cup competition, and of course three AFL senior league pre-season and H&A seasonal games. This ground fulfils exactly the same function that the Bulldogs are envisioning for the VU WO.

D04Wvj3U8AA3syh.jpeg


Consider that we have only seen the first chapter of the Mars Stadium project and there is much more to unfold as there eventually will be at VU WO. The State government provided $500,000 to the Ballarat Council in last years State Budget to complete a full feasibility report for further expansion of Mars Stadium. The council commissioned Price Waterhouse-Cooper Lawyers to conduct an independent study of the ground's usage and projected needs. PWC provided a number of recommendations about future development of Mars Stadium. I had a conversation with a Councillor in August last year who indicated that the report recommended expansion of lighting capacity, improvements to spectator amenities in the existing standing areas (toilets, ticketing, catering) as an immediate priority with an identified need to double existing covered seating capacity. The report further identified improving PT access. Essentially the State government have so far committed $6 million to address issues with the lack of amenities in the standing areas although funding has yet to be provided (likely forthcoming in the State budget). Ballarat will still need at least a further $20 million to expand its stands by several thousand and to boost lighting. The figure being unofficially quoted for Mars Stadium's next stage expansion will be for 16,000 capacity.
 
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Roogal

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Redevelopment probably wont be complete for like a decade, so Ballarat will still get their share of games for many years still.
I get the impression that the WBFC have a closer time frame than ten years for VU WO development. You should expect this project to fully evolve by around 2025.

Keep in mind that the Bulldogs are committed to Ballarat on paper only until 2021, while the State Government committed that they would back AFL in Ballarat to 2028 ... They didn't specify which team though after 2021. Perhaps we should never assume ;). I would never have predicted that North would have been so brutally shown the door from Ballarat as they were in 2015. Consider that the Hawks are due to re-sign in Tassie in 2021 and the Roos in 2022. Food for thought.

Nothing's certain until the contracts get signed. :thumbsu:

After all there's really nothing new here in this whole discussion thread, apart from the news that the Club has consulted Populus Consulting to prepare a concept proposal for future expansion of the VUWO. Peter Gordon has been on the record for years stating that long term development of the VU WO was on his agenda and that he wanted to see some occasional seasonal games played back there. So that shouldn't be shocking or surprising to anybody.

Personally I believe that there is room for games at VU WO and at MS by 2025. Remember that MS will likely be a significantly different venue by then.
 
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Norm De Guerre

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Hawthorn to get up to $20m in government funding if Labor win election

Hawthorn Football Club will receive as much as $20 million in federal government funding for their new Dingley facility if Labor is elected on May 18.

The Hawks and Labor frontbenchers Anthony Albanese and Mark Dreyfuss were set to announce the funding pledge on Wednesday at Hawthorn's Dingley site, the Kennedy Community Centre.



The Hawks are seeking to raise well over $100 million for the huge Dingley site, which will become their new training base, replacing Waverley Park.

Dreyfuss, the shadow attorney general, is also the member for Isaacs, the area that includes the Dingley site. Albanese is shadow minister for infrastructure, transport, cities and regional development.


The Hawks, who have submitted their Dingley plans to the local council, are also seeking state government funding and are expected to seek AFL assistance as well.

The club's wealthy benefactor and ex-vice president Geoff Harris has committed a donation of $10 million for the Dingley site, while several other wealthy backers are set to contribute.

 

Mattdougie

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There wouldn’t be more than 100 bulldog members than wouldn’t want to play games at WO instead of Ballarat(or any other venue).

The slim chance it’s even possible means the club should be all over it. Games at our home are far more appealing than games away at places very few care about unless they are trying to feather their own nests.

We will get less than 8-9000 in the weekend and that is embarrassing for a place that is only an hour away for most. The amount of people voting by simply not going speaks volumes and if we have the chance to play where we belong we should make every possible move to make it happen and make it happen ASAP.
 
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DelRe

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I agree completely. Many here are getting carried away with the nostalgia or romanticism of having a dedicated competition home ground and not seeing the real point of this developlment. While the VU WO will always remain the spiritual homeland of the WBFC the reality is that the ground is being developed as a VFL/AFLW hub and the Bulldogs website clearly states that the ground be used to host one H&A game per year most likely during the heritage round. The Bulldogs made a major pitch to the State government last year for funding based on the ground becoming an AFLW and community hub. This was why the land was granted for expansion, additional funds provided for upgraded lighting, new facilities for AFLW and the new scoreboard. It is unlikely that the ground would be built for a capacity greater than stated because Ikon Park (with 20,000) remains the preferred AFLW headquarters and will see significant upgrading too.

In short, the VU WO development adds another important string to the WBFC developing its AFLW and consolidating its VFL program in addition to securing its long term viability as a competitive Victorian based AFL entity. North Melbourne are presently funding similar expansion at Arden Street for exactly the same reasons.

Lost in this conversation thread has been the mention of the community and University aspect of this development. The development of VU WO is not just about providing a new stadium exclusively for the WBFC. It will provide community sports facilities, potentially a sports/sports medicine campus for the VU. Linked to this development will likely be surrounding residential aspects to help fund the project.

Implications for Ballarat. In short, the Bulldogs website re-inforces what the Ballarat Council's Community Development Director stated on Friday, that the Bulldogs are definitely commited to 2 H&A games in per season Ballarat at least until 2021 and have indicated their commitment to Ballarat as part of a long term plan to consolidate themselves as the primary AFL representative team in Western Melbourne and greater Western Victoria. The State government last year announced a commitment to support AFL games in Ballarat out to 2028.

Mars Stadium ongoing development. The Whitten Oval re-development is in many ways similar to and linked to the Mars Stadium ongoing development. The development of Mars Stadium is also being linked to a similar process as what is occurring at VU WO. Mars Stadium is being built as part of a wider community hub including linkages to the local Federation University, being surrounded by upgraded football, netball, basketball and cricket facilities, and the new indoor sports and events centre under construction (Pictured below). The main stadium is accessed by various football leagues, AFLW for pre-season, the TAC Cup competition, and of course three AFL senior league pre-season and H&A seasonal games. This ground fulfils exactly the same function that the Bulldogs are envisioning for the VU WO.

View attachment 667777

Consider that we have only seen the first chapter of the Mars Stadium project and there is much more to unfold as there eventually will be at VU WO. The State government provided $500,000 to the Ballarat Council in last years State Budget to complete a full feasibility report for further expansion of Mars Stadium. The council commissioned Price Waterhouse-Cooper Lawyers to conduct an independent study of the ground's usage and projected needs. PWC provided a number of recommendations about future development of Mars Stadium. I had a conversation with a Councillor in August last year who indicated that the report recommended expansion of lighting capacity, improvements to spectator amenities in the existing standing areas (toilets, ticketing, catering) as an immediate priority with an identified need to double existing covered seating capacity. The report further identified improving PT access. Essentially the State government have so far committed $6 million to address issues with the lack of amenities in the standing areas although funding has yet to be provided (likely forthcoming in the State budget). Ballarat will still need at least a further $20 million to expand its stands by several thousand and to boost lighting. The figure being unofficially quoted for Mars Stadium's next stage expansion will be for 16,000 capacity.
I don’t think you do agree completely with the post you were responding to. You laid out a good point about the pitch and reasoning for the redevelopment of VUWO and then created a somewhat tenuous link to Ballarat on the basis of it being a similar approach. I didn’t see much of any reference to Ballarat in the media, government or club announcements about this redevelopment that I’d expect there to be some logical spin about if that was the case. I think there’s some good points to be made about the benefits of AFLW and VU etc but the link to benefiting from Ballarat in this seems to be very convenient to fit in hindsight, with very little mention of it in foresight. The comparison with Hawthorn seems much more likely - two development opportunities being run at once.
 

Roogal

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I don’t think you do agree completely with the post you were responding to. You laid out a good point about the pitch and reasoning for the redevelopment of VUWO and then created a somewhat tenuous link to Ballarat on the basis of it being a similar approach. I didn’t see much of any reference to Ballarat in the media, government or club announcements about this redevelopment that I’d expect there to be some logical spin about if that was the case. I think there’s some good points to be made about the benefits of AFLW and VU etc but the link to benefiting from Ballarat in this seems to be very convenient to fit in hindsight, with very little mention of it in foresight. The comparison with Hawthorn seems much more likely - two development opportunities being run at once.
Fair enough, but I do stand by what I said. The point that I was making with Ballarat is that it is part of the State Government's overall plan to create sporting hubs and centres of excellence away from Olympic Park and the MCG. In Ballarat away from Mars Stadium, the historic Eastern Oval is getting a major upgrade as one of several Victorian Cricket hubs with new all weather training facilities, a rebuilt oval, separate womens facilities and later this year a major lighting upgrade.

Consider the money spent to give Bendigo a state of the art 4000 seat Basketball and entertainment centre, upgraded cricket and football hubs in Werribee, Casey Fields, Moe. New Basketball stadiums in Werribee and Frankston. The Ballarat Sports and Events Centre will consist of a new $24 million 3000 seat Basketball/Netball stadium which will also feature several other indoor community courts. This is directly linked next door to the upgraded Wendouree Oval which has just also undergone a $4.1 million upgrade with a new oval, state of the art football and netball facilities, mixed gender pavillion and new club rooms and 200 lux grade lighting. This butts directly onto the rebuilt North Ballarat #2 oval whigh is built to the same specification as Mars Stadium and also features night lighting and is used as the training oval for Mars. The Mars Stadium itself consists of a Federation Uni supported sports medicine clinic, mixed gender use facilities and of course a community club and the stadium itself.

Sounds a hell of a lot like what is proposed at VU WO (less perhaps a spare oval and indoor basketball stadium) to me. ;)

20190509_164531.jpg
 
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Pugz89

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So they all are running to Governments wanting hand outs now. The sh*te we copped when we were the first to do it.
Hawks have been all over it for a while longer than us. Dingley HQ has been talked about for years. Seems like the new VUWO works are relatively new in comparison. P.S. You going on Saturday?
 

DelRe

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Fair enough, but I do stand by what I said. The point that I was making with Ballarat is that it is part of the State Government's overall plan to create sporting hubs and centres of excellence away from Olympic Park and the MCG. In Ballarat away from Mars Stadium, the historic Eastern Oval is getting a major upgrade as one of several Victorian Cricket hubs with new all weather training facilities, a rebuilt oval, separate womens facilities and later this year a major lighting upgrade.

Consider the money spent to give Bendigo a state of the art 4000 seat Basketball and entertainment centre, upgraded cricket and football hubs in Werribee, Casey Fields, Moe. New Basketball stadiums in Werribee and Frankston. The Ballarat Sports and Events Centre will consist of a new $24 million 3000 seat Basketball/Netball stadium which will also feature several other indoor community courts. This is directly linked next door to the upgraded Wendouree Oval which has just also undergone a $4.1 million upgrade with a new oval, state of the art football and netball facilities, mixed gender pavillion and new club rooms and 200 lux grade lighting. This butts directly onto the rebuilt North Ballarat #2 oval whigh is built to the same specification as Mars Stadium and also features night lighting and is used as the training oval for Mars. The Mars Stadium itself consists of a Federation Uni supported sports medicine clinic, mixed gender use facilities and of course a community club and the stadium itself.

Sounds a hell of a lot like what is proposed at VU WO (less perhaps a spare oval and indoor basketball stadium) to me. ;)

View attachment 670234
I follow your point that the development of Ballarat and WO (if it happens) may be similar models/approaches. I haven’t seen much linking the two in any discussion though other than in these forums and nothing linking them as part of one overall government plan which logically would have got some coverage if true.

I was challenging the point that there was some master plan that the club entered into Ballarat with the intent of building relationships with government for the benefit of other projects that weren’t even on the table at that time. I think Ballarat was entered into as an alternative (rightly or wrongly) to selling games interstate. Subsequently there has been an opportunity to develop WO. Much like Hawthorn is developing Dingley and Tassie at the same time.
 

BulldogJake

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If your spending 150m, get the capacity up the 25k and play 3 to 5 games a year there, basically all interstate teams.
Surely they could easily build a multi level grandstand behind the goals at the station end of the ground. Heaps of space there. 1st and 3rd levels general seating, 2nd level corporates/gold members.
I thought the plans lacked a little ambition. 25k should be the goal so we can also play Sydney, Brisbane, and Port Adelaide there. Maybe even the odd game against North and St Kilda.
 

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