Before making a decision Council wants to understand community preferences about a number of broad opportunities that have emerged from the consultation process and have potential to increase the use of the Oval and generate funds (through usage fees, licences and leases) to finance its long term upkeep and renewal. Options include:
- Reallocating revenue from other services or lifting rates.
- Expanding use of existing facilities to be licensed or leased for a profit to additional regular users/licensees. Additional uses could include cultural and community shows, concerts, moonlight cinema, markets, community events (like carols by candlelight or fireworks night) and/or other sport codes (like soccer, lacrosse, frisbee, touch football, rugby union)
- Reclassifying land along Pittwater Road and building a commercial development at the southern end of the Park to be leased for a profit. Uses could include conference or function rooms, restaurant, licenced premises (pub or club), retail shops, offices, medical centre, commercial gym or indoor sports centre, serviced apartments or youth centre
- Building a commercial car park under the Oval integrated with a new ‘park and ride’ bus stop
- Selling the naming rights to the Oval
- Introducing advertising on Pittwater Road
- Pursuing Federal or State government funding
- Pursuing funding from Foxtel
- Increasing charges for using the facilities
- Introducing a small levy on ticket costs for Sea Eagles games
- Selling or developing other Council owned land.
It is unlikely that any one of these options alone will generate enough funds to cover fund future capital expenditure. As such, a combination of options may need to be considered.
Options to convert the Oval to parkland and/or a sports field with smaller facilities attached which would eliminate much of the need for future capital expenditure are not being considered because there is strong support for the Oval to be retained as a regional sporting facility. Similarly, options for residential development are not being considered as there was no support for this use.
In order to undertake preliminary assessment of the options so that a broad direction for the future of the Oval can be set, a number of factors need to be considered. Amongst other things, options need to:
- Maximise return on investment – to subsidise the future capital expenditure of the Oval facilities
- Minimise loss of Community Land
- Protect the balance between use as a regional sport facility and a local neighbourhood park
- Result in no net loss of seating
- Maximise compliance with legislative requirements
- Minimise impact on surrounding areas, including parking conflicts
- Maximise attractiveness for other users
- Be commercially viable in terms of height, floor space ratio and use
Council is undertaking preliminary technical and costing studies to provide a broad indication of whether options are viable. This information will be available to inform the consultation process. After Council has made a decision on the future direction to fund future capital renewal works, detailed feasibility and design studies will be undertaken in 2011.