BROOKVALE Oval stadium home to the Sea Eagles could be demolished and turned into a community garden park, if a radical Warringah Council proposal is accepted.
Alternatively and far more likely a seven-storey commercial development incorporating a new grandstand has also been proposed for the southern end of Brookvale Park to pay for the much-needed upgrade of the football stadium. The commercial development could include a supermarket, small shops, a medical centre and offices or a leagues club and underground parking. A third option is to keep the stadium as it is and not fund any upgrade. A Warringah Council staff options paper, obtained by the Manly Daily yesterday outlined the three proposals. The options were presented to Warringah councillors last week and are likely to generate heated debate in the community. In 2007, the State Government gave the council $6.6million, matched by $4million from the council, for repairs to the roof and seating of the Jane Try stand, and the refurbishment of the change rooms, public amenities and food and drink outlets. The council owns the land and the buildings, and expects to spend about $1million a year to maintain the oval after the upgrade. The Sea Eagles pay the council $30,000 for each home game at Brookvale totalling $330,000 this year which would leave the council with a $670,000 shortfall if it decides to retain the status quo. Council staff say any development of the southern end of Brookvale Park would be self-funding and would generate a profit for the council to use to maintain the oval. The council’s local environment plan allows for buildings up to eight storeys in the area but any commercial development would require rezoning part of Brookvale Park. Warringah Mayor Michael Regan says it would be up to the community to decide which option it wanted but he favoured the commercial development of the site, preferably without involving a developer as a partner. ``Rather than letting a developer take the risk and then take the profit, I’d rather see us develop it and maximise the profits we can return to ratepayers,’’ he said. ``It would mean we take the risk but we reap the rewards for the community. ``We own Brookvale Park and ratepayers deserve to get the best return on that asset.’’ Warringah councillor Christina Kirsch said she had no preference among the three options, so long as the process remains open and transparent, and the community was broadly consulted. ``We also have a duty of care to local residents and we need to be sure we cater for the broadest range of the community, not just one section,’’ she said. ``We will need very extensive community consultation on this.’’