Reds' Ballymore plans on track after QLD stadiums report

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Queensland Reds have welcomed recommendations about the future of Ballymore, effectively endorsing their plans to transform it into a state of the art training centre.

The QRU submitted a proposal earlier this year for a new National Rugby Training Centre to be based out of Ballymore, recommending demolishing the current McLean stand and redeveloping the Eastern stand into a high performance facility, that would act as a hub for women's rugby and a second home for Australia's national teams.

A Stadiums Queensland task force report released on Wednesday recommended the demolition of the grandstands and for the area to be developed into a training facility, something the Reds welcomed.

The task force warned against trying to maintain Ballymore as a stadium, with its location falling short of the requirements for transport and access.

It was news the Reds were pleased to hear, having long been campaigning for funding to improve the area, that is one of the only rugby-owned asset in the country.

“We're pleased the report has acknowledged the issues around Ballymore and we look forward to continuing to talk to the state government about its future," a QRU spokesperson said.

How have the Reds fared in 2016? Photo: Getty imagesWhile the QRU has approval to build a 24,000-seat stadium on the site, that possibility has long been shelved in favour of developing a training centre that would have a 6,000-capacity grandstand and hills around the rest of the main field.

The QRU has long campaigned for some kind of Ballymore redevelopment with the maintenance losing a net $1.5million a year.

In a bid to reduce these costs, the Reds coaching staff have been moved out of offices at the top of the McLean stand and into the administration centre for the first time.

The next challenge for the Reds could be what to do with the remainder of the grounds in the precinct, currently restricted to sports and recreation use.

According to the report, the state union is interested in offering some development opportunities in the land but that would require a change to the deed.

As part of the report, the task force said the QLD Government should "continue to talk to the QRU" about the future use of the entire area and whether it could be re-zoned.

The QRU is still awaiting news of government funding for the project,asking for $15 million from the state government that would be matched by the federal government.

If the development goes ahead, there would still be the opportunity for pre-season Super Rugby games and similar events to be staged at Ballymore.