Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Lakeside Redevelopment update May 2011

On our last update, there wasn't much to add. Things were coming together nicely, and then a report in the Herald Sun stated that there might be a funding shortfall because of the 'southern' stand being unsafe. The natural assumption would be that this was referring to the 1926 stand, but it could have been referring to our own stand, which would need a fair kit out for the upgrade to its status as being the main broadcasting area.

Whatever the case, in the 2011 state budget another $15 million was allocated towards the redevelopment, so hopefully that will cover every necessity. Last time we showed you the much hoped for blue running track. This time we can show you lines and numbers. In some respects, it isn't much, but it adds to the feeling of impending completeness, which still has ways to go. New light towers and the Athletics Victoria headquarters haven't been started yet.

Work seem to be occurring on our grandstand. The seating is mostly done, and there's been alterations done to the fencing. You can also see bits and pieces of scaffolding underneath the roof, the purpose of which I'm not exactly certain, but it'd be nice if it was to tidy up the place a bit. Also nice would be if we finally got around to officially naming the stand to add a further bit of ownership to the venue.

New turnstiles. One would assume that they're doing this all professional like, so that these will be electronic and such, allowing for the accurate counting of patrons. Not that it'll be a problem for us with our now customary paltry attendances, but it'd be nice to finally have proper modern turnstiles after the botched attempts back in the NSL days.
Hell, even just for the novelty of scanning a ticket or card at a VPL match

Work on the 1926 stand seem to be continuing as per usual, with it being it difficult for me to tell how much progress is actually being made there. I'd make the argument that it really should have bene knocked down and everything started from scratch, but I seem to share the yearning for maintaining a historical building that could be of some use, and that will add to the delightful patchwork nature of the new look venue that so many custom built stadiums lack.

While the specifics of the deal are good for our survival, despite having to give up several rights (and obligations/responsibilities), it'll be interesting of course to see how the tenants and the Trust get along with each other, as well as seeing what we do with the social club space which remains under our control. Several folks from other clubs insist that we will be a junior or disadvantaged tenant. Does this stem from jealousy, or genuine concern for the loss to Victorian soccer of what was a good venue with a lot of potential for improvement? I suspect it's a mixture of both, but for those lamenting the stadium's alteration, I would say 'well, where were you?'.

And I don't mean back at the AGM in 2009 which saw the membership almost unanimously approve the MOU and terms of reference for dealing with the government. I mean in the years following our disappearance from top flight football, when the club needed more than ever for its people to stick by it and not only keep it a going concern but also give it the best chance of returning to the top flight, as unlikely a scenario as that might have been. It's a bit rich for some people to complain when they've neglected the welfare of the club for several years.

Chances were that if we didn't proceed with this initiative, the club would have been turfed out when its lease ran out, a new athletics venue built somewhere else, and eventually Lakeside would have become the provenance of an A-League side or perhaps even the FFV, and we would have been genuinely homeless, not to mention penniless. At least this way, as has been argued by not just myself but other supporters of the initiative, we get a second chance to do things right and maybe, just maybe, build something bigger.

All photos sourced from the Athletics Victoria Facebook page, and brought to our attention by Cuddles. Click on all photos to enlarge.

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