The Western Bulldogs Football Club welcomes today’s announcement by the Daniel Andrews State Government to allocate $36.6 million towards the Whitten Oval precinct redevelopment.
The Club’s ambitious plans for its West Footscray home will transform the precinct into the centrepiece of Melbourne’s west - a home for an elite sporting club and a common place for the community.
It will be an inviting, contemporary and cutting-edge place to work, recreate, explore, relax and connect, which caters for the changing face of the region.
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula today announced that the funding had been confirmed for the Bulldogs’ $58 million project, as part of the Victorian Budget for 2020/21.
“We are very grateful to the Daniel Andrews State Government for believing in the vision we have created for the future of the Whitten Oval precinct,” said Bulldogs President Peter Gordon.
“We have been on this journey for a number of years now, and the Victorian Government has supported our plans from the beginning.
“This funding commitment will allow us to begin the significant next stage of these important works. We will start this process as soon as we can.
“To be embarking on such an exciting and ambitious project to redevelop the Whitten Oval precinct is a special opportunity which underlines our commitment to ensuring we provide elite facilities for our football teams and to service our members and fans, local residents and the community of the west.
“Our ultimate ambition is to make the Whitten Oval precinct the heart of the community - an everyday precinct to spectate, celebrate and discover. The redevelopment will ensure that new generations can enjoy the Western Bulldogs’ home ground, create new and lasting memories, and retain a strong understanding of the Club’s history.”
The Whitten Oval precinct redevelopment was initially made possible by a valuable parcel of land at the Geelong Road end of the precinct, which was transferred to the Club to enable a larger overall footprint to be developed.
The Victorian Government initially allocated $5 million towards stage one of the redevelopment, which was completed in February last year, and a further $1 million towards the creation of detailed plans for future stages.
In May 2019, the Club unveiled its comprehensive master plan, which was followed by the submission of a business case to the Stage Government.
Stage One works included the upgrading of women’s football facilities in the John Gent Stand at VU Whitten Oval, and the installation of a new scoreboard.
Today’s funding announcement paves the way for Stage Two of the redevelopment to progress to the next stage.
In this stage of works, at a cost of between $40-$45 million, the Club plans to revamp the Whitten Stand to include upgraded administration facilities (featuring a community hub and large function space), re-design AFL and AFLW player changerooms and high performance areas, reconfigure the playing field and the install broadcast quality lighting to host AFLW and VFL night games.
For visitors to the upgraded precinct, there are plans to create a new Barkly Street frontage, improved pedestrian access to Whitten Avenue, community outdoor workout areas, expanded green space, a match-day pavilion and an increase in carparking.
The Bulldogs have worked closely with Maribyrnong City Council, local residents and precinct tenants throughout the planning process so far.
A town planning application is currently in progress with Council, which includes a period of community consultation.
The Club has committed to fund some of the costs associated with the next stage of the redevelopment, with a portion of the funds secured from the imminent sale of its gaming machines to be allocated to the project.
“This project is a massive win for the people of the west and not just football fans, with the needs of the community central to the planning and delivery of the redevelopment,” said Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula.
“It’s fantastic footy fans will be able to watch the AFLW Bulldogs and Footscray VFL teams in much improved conditions.”
Information regarding the progress of the Whitten Oval precinct project can be viewed at the Club’s redevelopment hub on westernbulldogs.com.au.