THE PORT ADELAIDE FOOTBALL CLUB has released a fly-through of its proposed redevelopment of the Alberton Oval precinct, which has been adapted from the original plan following a period of community consultation and feedback.
Key to the redevelopment is ensuring that the area accommodates community and recreational use, while providing modern elite facilities for the current AFL and SANFL sides, along with a future AFLW team.
The fly-through shows the proposed upgrade to the training facilities, including two new basketball courts and a soccer field that will provide open green space for the community to use when not being used as important training space for elite sport, whilst also optimising recreational sport usage when not in use by elite sport or the community.
“Optimising the use of the space while ensuring we are able to provide the high performance training facilities needed for a modern AFL Club has also been a key consideration but it is also important to us that Alberton Oval is a precinct that the whole community can be proud of and enjoy,” explained Port Adelaide chief executive Matthew Richardson.
“When you look at the fly-through, you can see it’s going to be a fantastic space, not only for elite football and recreational sport, but also for the community to be able to enjoy.”
Mr Richardson said the club wished to remain at Alberton, which had been its physical and spiritual home since 1880, but little had changed with the facilities in the past 20 years.
“From a high performance perspective, it would be reasonable to say our facilities would currently be in the bottom couple across the AFL competition,” Mr Richardson said.
“Alberton Oval is where our club’s history and tradition has been built, but the reality is we now need the facilities that match our ambitions. We can’t afford for our facilities to become a competitive disadvantage in developing and retaining our players.
“Our mission is to win premierships, in order to do that we must provide our players, including our new AFLW team, with elite playing, training and rehab facilities.
“We desperately need to upgrade the facilities at Alberton to ensure that we’re providing our players with the best possible opportunity to win.
“At the same time, we understand our responsibility in the community and we take that very seriously. Through the consultation process already conducted with local residents we’ve understood what’s important to them and have integrated changes into our vision for the precinct.
“More open green space, additional trees and off-street car parking are all important to residents and the broader community. These have been addressed and are now reflected in how we’ve gone about updating the design of the precinct.”
There will be 72 mature trees planted to replace the 36 existing trees which need to be removed to optimise the green space on the precinct, and off-street parking will increase from 96 spaces to 162, which has been important to minimise off street parking.
Port Adelaide will find out early next month whether its bid for an AFLW license to enter Season 7 (December 2022) has been successful. The Club has already secured $1.5million in funding through the Office for Recreation and Sports facilities funding program to upgrade the changerooms underneath the Fos Williams Family Stand for women’s use.
The precinct redevelopment plan has support from all levels of government, in part because it will provide overflow training space for junior basketball teams from the West Adelaide Bearcats, and an overflow playing field for school teams from the North West Junior Soccer Association.
“We understand the role that Alberton Oval plays in the community, which it has done for a long, long time, but one of the things we’re passionate about is optimising the use of the precinct,” Mr Richardson said. “We want to see more kids and families on Alberton Oval kicking the footy where their heroes do at times when our teams aren’t training.”
“We’ve listened to Council on their priorities in relation to community sport facilities and they’ve identified that the two biggest shortages they have are basketball and soccer.
“The West Adelaide Bearcats have over 90 teams training on three courts, so they’re training in school halls and anywhere they can but really they have a shortage of suitable courts.
“If our redevelopment can provide some overflow training facilities for some of their teams to use after hours, it helps them and optimises the use of the facility and in turn the collective investments.
“Similarly, the local primary schools junior soccer association has something like 4,000 kids playing and there aren’t enough local pitches.
“We don’t have enough room at Alberton for two AFL fields but we do need extra training space for our athletes, so our proposed soccer pitch will function as a training space and a community park that can be used for a few games of primary school soccer. Importantly, it will also be used for parking on match days, as the current reserve has been for many years.”
The City of Port Adelaide Enfield is currently undergoing a community consultation on two separate decisions relating to the parcel of land at Alberton Oval. That includes a Council-proposed, updated Community Land Management Plan and a lease extension the club has requested to allow the redevelopment to occur.
Anybody can make a submission as part of the consultation process, which ends at 5pm on Friday 27 August. Consultation on the redevelopment plan itself will come at a later date, should the lease request be approved.
“If the redevelopment is approved, it will allow Alberton Oval to remain our home into the future, with elite facilities that match the needs of our AFL and AFLW ambitions, but also it will be a fantastic precinct for the whole community to enjoy,” Mr Richardson continued.
“We urge our members, supporters and the broader community to get behind and support this exciting re-development of the Alberton Oval precinct.”
To have your say on the redevelopment plans, visit the Council website here: https://haveyoursay.cityofpae.sa.gov.au/alberton-oval