Ipswich City Council has paved the way for Brisbane Lions to build a boutique football stadium at Springfield Central.
At a special meeting of council on Thursday, Interim Administrator Greg Chemello signed off on the dedication of the land at 60 Springfield Greenbank Arterial as open space and the transfer of the title to freehold without a trust.
It gives the Lions the green light to start construction on the $70 million facility, which was secured with the financial support of council, the Federal and State Governments, Springfield City Group and the AFL.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in February that the Commonwealth would contribute the outstanding $15 million towards building a boutique 10,000-seat stadium, to be called The Reserve, adjacent to the Springfield Central Railway Station.
The Queensland Government last year promised $15 million the minute Canberra matched that funding amount. The Lions had already secured $18 million from SCG, the site from council, while the club and the AFL provided a combined $10 million.
The Reserve – a complete regional sports and events precinct – will essentially be owned by council and leased to the Lions for 50 years at a nominal amount.
Council and the Lions had executed a Heads of Agreement in 2017 and Mr Chemello said it was necessary to make the land freehold to enable the Lions to go ahead with the intended development of the stadium and extended use of the facilities afterwards for the community.
A report presented to council said the land was first identified in 2012 as a potential home for the Lions, including an AFL stadium and high performance training facility.
“This property was identified as the most appropriate site for the proposed stadium due to its proximity to the Springfield Central Rail Station and the developing and surrounding residential, commercial and retail precincts in Springfield Central,” the report said.
SCG transferred ownership of the land to council, however the proposal did not progress and the Lions looked at other sites across SEQ.
Negotiations continued several years later and it finally got the go-ahead when the PM kicked the key financial commitment for a goal at the start of 2019.
“The Brisbane Lions have proposed to develop the southern part of the property with facilities incorporating a stadium for playing Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW), AFL pre-season and training, second tier AFL games, other community uses and sporting events and a high-performance training and administration centre. A secondary oval will be developed on the northern part of the property for the use by community sporting clubs,” the report said.
But The Reserve will not be used exclusively by the Lions – community and sporting groups will benefit from the other oval and facilities, which are expected to include a high-performance gymnasium incorporating state-of-the-art learning and teaching facilities, 25m lap pool, aquatic recovery pools and sports medical infrastructure.
Council and the Lions would also work together in the delivery of community benefit programs, such as a Lions in Schools program and players acting as Ipswich ambassadors.
There will be up to 180 car parking spaces, which will complement the new $45 million park n ride railway parking building adjacent to the stadium.
Construction is expected to start later this year with early 2021 as the likely date for a ribbon-cutting/ball up ceremony.