The redevelopment of Whitten Oval is a step closer with Maribyrnong council granting the Western Bulldogs a planning permit.
At the last council meeting, the council considered the $50 million project which includes a new indoor recreation facility, museum, and playground and will increase the capacity of the function centre, car parking area, offices and retail spaces on the oval.
This would be in addition to demolishing and replacing the existing E.J Whitten Stand, installing new light towers, and resurfacing the playing field
Councillors granted the permit, but supported objectors’ calls to ensure that Spurling Reserve remained available to the public at all times and the continued community use of the both facilities.
Mayor Michael Clarke says councillors could see the economic and community wellbeing benefits from the introduction of the function centre, shop and café and the addition of a basketball court and playground and improved pedestrian access to and around the site, including for those requiring disability access.
But he said they also recognised that Spurling Reserve has played a fundamental role in providing localised open space for residents in an area which has a shortfall of publicly accessible open space.
“We cannot support it being fenced off for car parking.”
In granting the planning permit, council is requiring all existing car parking within Spurling Reserve, adjacent to Barkly Street, be removed.
Council will write to the Bulldogs to explore the establishment of a community working group to formalise continued community access to Whitten Oval and Spurling Reserve.
The Club will also be required, following the first televised matches, to submit its lighting plan to council for approval.