PORT ADELAIDE’s redevelopment plans for the Alberton Oval precinct have council and community support and work could start as soon as June, according to club Chairman David Koch.
The club last week unveiled its vision for an upgraded high-performance facility at Alberton which included two basketball courts and a soccer pitch to be shared with community clubs and organisations.
New drawings of the site have now been released, which give more detail around the plans, including how the facility and surrounding landscaping will look from the street.
Mr Koch said the development was “shovel ready” but dependent on securing funding.
“We are ready to do it, council is very supportive of it, the community is very supportive of it and so I think we have a good case to be included in the May Federal Budget,” the Chairman explained.
“In terms of state funding, we have an application in with the Office for Recreation and Sport’s Regional and Districts Facility Grants program that is currently under consideration.
“When COVID-19 impacted us last year, we had to rethink our priorities and this included our redevelopment plans at Alberton Oval to ensure it meets the future needs of not only the football club but also the local community and western suburbs.
“We do have approvals, we do have plans, we’re shovel ready, we can start as early as June, which will help create jobs and rebuild the economy after the pandemic, which both state and federal governments have as a priority.”
Mr Koch said discussions with the federal government had so far been “fruitful” and he expected an even-handed approach given most other AFL clubs had received federal funding in recent years for facility upgrades.
He explained that the club had so far been cautious with asking for funding, ensuring it was absolutely ready to go and had community support first.
“We’ve been very conscious that we don’t go with proposals that are pipedreams,” Mr Koch said.
“We’ve been working on this for a quite a while. We wanted to make sure the plans were right, the council was onboard and community was included with that.
“We now think we’ve done the due diligence to ensure it is viable, it meets the needs of the broader community and we’re very conscious that taxpayer dollars are not wasted.
“There’s also benefit – not only economically with local jobs, but also from a community point of view we want to ensure meets a need as well.”
As part of the plan, the changerooms under the Williams Family Stand would be upgraded to accommodate the club’s future AFLW side so games can be played at Alberton Oval.
As well, the West Adelaide Bearcats Basketball Club would use the new basketball courts and the North West Junior Soccer Association would have access to the soccer pitch.
“If you look at great sports organisations around the world, it’s those clubs and organisations that engage with the community that build their culture and DNA that succeed,” Mr Koch said.
“For us, the western suburbs of Adelaide and the Port area has always been a working-class area, the club has played a really important role in the community for 150 years and we’ve got to keep doing it.
“It’s just as important today as ever before. The plans for the redevelopment of the facilities and the Port Club just take that to the next level.”
The refurbishment of the social club facility has already commenced with a museum and enhanced retail experience to feature as part of stage one, and the bar and bistro to move upstairs as part of stage two.