City of Melbourne councillors will consider a proposal to re-develop Ikon Park to become the home of women’s AFL (AFLW).
The proposal from the Carlton Football Club, supported with $20 million in funding from the Victorian Government and $15 million from the Australian Government, will be considered at Tuesday night’s Council Meeting.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said Ikon Park has been a popular location for AFLW since hosting the first sell-out game in February 2017.
“Women’s sport is enjoying a level of popularity we’ve never seen before, with a record 90 teams made up of women and girls using our sporting facilities every week. ” the Lord Mayor said.
“The popularity of AFLW has played an important role in this growth. For the first time, we’re seeing young kids – boys and girls – who can name their favourite male and female AFL players.
“Ikon Park has hosted VFL and AFL games for 108 years so it’s fitting that it could become the home of women’s football in Melbourne.”
The Carlton Football Club proposal includes:
– The provision of training facilities for elite female athletes;
– New fit-for-purpose facilities;
– Improved lighting for night sporting events and;
– Upgraded public spaces.
Chair of the Planning portfolio, Councillor Nicholas Reece, said any development of the football ground would need to be consistent with the Melbourne Planning Scheme and respectful of the landscape and heritage character of Princes Park.
“So many Melburnians have nostalgic memories of going to games at Princes Park. Everyone agrees there’s a different experience watching games in the suburbs compared to Docklands or the MCG,” Cr Reece said.
“It’s exciting that these facilities could be upgraded to elite sporting standards. The proposal includes upgrading the oval along with delivering a new coaching hub, sports injury prevention centre and an allied health facility.”
Cr Reece said if the proposal is endorsed, the City of Melbourne would still need to see the results of parking surveys to determine what on-street restrictions, if any, should be implemented to manage parking.
“Princes Park is surrounded by residential areas so we also need to consider very carefully the impacts on the local community,” Cr Reece said.
“If Ikon Park is to become the home of AFLW, we need assurances from Carlton Football Club and the AFL that fans would be encouraged to use public transport to access the ground.”
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