Port Adelaide CEO Matthew Richardson last night presented to the City of Port Adelaide Enfield Council’s Development Assessment Panel regarding the club’s Alberton Oval precinct development plan.

The Council’s Development Assessment Panel unanimously granted the club conditional planning consent.

Here is the transcript of Matthew’s presentation last night…

Thank you to the panel for the opportunity to present.

I am going to address three key areas tonight;

  1. Why is this development important for the Port Adelaide Football Club?
  2. What are the key features of the development for the Club?
  3. And what are the key benefits for the Community?

Firstly, the Club has undertaken a range of community consultations separate to the statutory obligations prescribed in the Council process. We held several public meetings and also provided information to all local residents outlining our objectives and inviting feedback.

We have listened and addressed the community’s concerns to ensure the proposed development achieves three main objectives;

  1. Provides the high performance facility needs of an elite AFL football club
  2. Optimises the investment with broader community sport and recreation use
  3. Significantly improves and increases open green space for passive recreation

Why is the Club proposing this Development?

Alberton Oval has been the home of the Port Adelaide Football Club since 1880.

The land was gifted to Council by Mr John Formby, a former Mayor and also Chairman of Port Adelaide for the express use of the Port Adelaide Football and Cricket Clubs.

Alberton Oval is an important part of the Club’s identity – it’s intrinsic to who we are and an important feature of what makes Port Adelaide different to other AFL Clubs.

However, the existing facilities are tired (would be in bottom two in AFL) and with the Club’s ambition for success in the AFL and our entry into the AFLW competition next year, we desperately need to upgrade and provide our players with the elite level training facilities required of an AFL Club to compete and ultimately win.

Alberton Oval’s intended use under the Council’s Land Management Plan is to support elite sporting activities, which also enable community sport and recreation.

We are not proposing any reduction to the existing use. In fact, the upgrade will enable greater community use whilst providing elite facilities for our staff and players competing in the AFL, SANFL and AFLW.

In response to a number of the assertions and concerns about increased use of Alberton Oval and the impact on traffic around the local are I’d like to highlight that the use of Alberton Oval now is significantly reduced on years gone by.

If we go back 20-30years;

Alberton Oval was used every night of the week by the Club’s junior and senior teams with lights on until after 8pm and then on weekends during the winter 10-15,000 people would cram into the oval via surrounding streets to cheer on their team. And that was during winter. In summer there was cricket training most nights and matches on the weekends – it was a very busy and active precinct with football and cricket.

This is dramatically different today with the Port Adelaide Football Club of the modern AFL era. Night time use is limited to a few nights per week, and rarely are the lights on after 7pm. Major events are less and with smaller numbers, and even with the exciting entry of AFLW to Alberton Oval from December 2022, this will still be a far cry from the 10’s of thousands who came to Alberton back in the day.

Alberton Oval has continually evolved over the years to suit the needs of the Club – from one Grandstand to two, increased supporter mounds on the eastern side, then entry into the AFL and now expansion into AFLW competition.

This development aims to optimize investment and improve the Alberton Oval precinct so it continues as the home of the Port Adelaide Football Club of the future, but at the same time, remains an important place for our community to connect and interact with their football club, something we’ve all missed over the last couple of years.

What are the features of this development for the Club?

The development will include an upgrade and expansion of player changerooms, gymnasium and rehab facilities to cater for our AFL and AFLW teams - AFLW is an important part of this re-development and expansion, but lifting our facilities from close to the worst in the AFL is also critical to ensure our players and staff have everything they need to compete and be successful.

The development will also include expansion of the indoor training facility so that it provides a large space to cater for kicking and skill development. The size and space can be multi-use so to optimise the use and investment. The inclusion of two basketball courts provides the opportunity for not only cross-training of our own players, but for the West Adelaide Bearcats basketball club to use after hours. In our conversations with Council we asked what the local area's greatest sports facility needs that we could help with and basketball was number one. The Bearcats have 90+ junior teams playing and training out of two courts. Rather than Council invest $20-$30m to build a new complex, we incorporate this facility at no cost to Council and the Bearcats have access for training to two courts for selected times during the week.

The development will also include an additional training field. The Port Adelaide Football Club desperately needs another training field but it doesn’t need to be a full size oval. Elite practice and teaching methods in AFL football now see teams often using the full oval for training and ball movement drills. Players who are injured or doing specialist skill development require additional field space away from the football oval.

There is adequate field space available by utilizing the full precinct more effectively – the dis-used croquet Club, repositioned car parking a removing the old asphalt mounds that surround the outer banks of Alberton Oval achieve this.

In order to optimize recreational use, the field can be used also as a junior soccer field by the North West Junior Soccer Association on Saturday mornings during the winter.

Outside of that, it becomes much improved recreational greenspace for the local community to use for passive recreation, exercise and dog walking.

For AFLW match days, Alberton Oval will be a unique and vibrant precinct, and importantly the green space which replaces the harsh asphalt terraces transforms into an active space for kids and families. Think ‘polo in the park’ combined with kids family days.

Importantly, the field space will also cater for parking on event days, just as it does currently and just as Adelaide Oval No2 ground operates for AFL match days at Adelaide Oval.

And also, there is a 70% increase in off-street parking to cater for both Port Adelaide Football Club and recreational use – car parks on-site increase from 96 currently to 162.

What are the features of the development for the Community?

Our objective is to open up the Alberton Oval precinct so it not only provides elite facilities for a growing and ambitious Port Adelaide Football Club, but at the same time improve the precinct for greater recreational sport use as well as being a wonderful space for more passive recreation by the community.

The indoor training area provides two basketball courts which will be used after hours by the West Adelaide Bearcats Basketball Club for their training – restricted hours and nights of use.

This is an important need of the community – as mentioned they have 90 junior teams and growing.

The soccer field can be used on some Saturday mornings by the NWJSA – primary school kids – with the rationalisation of schools and playing fields, there aren’t enough fields to cater for their growth.

Outside of that, the development provides increased and significantly improved open greenspace for the community to use for passive recreation – exercise, dog-walking etc.

When the Club is not training, this will be a wonderful improved space for the community to enjoy.

We want to see boys and girls enjoying Alberton Oval, emulating their heroes.

On top of this development, the Club is investing $5m to upgrade the social club, transforming it into a vibrant and accessible venue for the whole community to enjoy – there won’t be too many better views where you can sit, enjoy a meal on the deck overlooking Alberton Oval as your kids are running around on the ground.

Thank you.