VFL’s Sharks seek to develop Australia’s first green stadium

Victorian Football League (VFL) Aussie rules club Southport Sharks has unveiled the next stages of a masterplan which includes a boutique stadium that it intends to become one of Australia’s premier sport, leisure and entertainment precincts and the country’s first green facility.

The centrepiece of the masterplan – a boutique stadium catering for 8,000 to 10,000 people – is intended to provide an important piece of community infrastructure, designed to respond to the growing needs of the Gold Coast.

Southport Sharks CEO, Dean Bowtell, said: “We are excited to be progressing with the next stages of our master plan following calls for a boutique stadium across the Gold Coast for a number of years.

“Our detailed planning and investigations have confirmed that Southport Sharks is the best location in the city for this important piece of community infrastructure and that, at 8,000 to 10,000 people, we can deliver a fantastic experience in a venue that is the right size for the city.”

The venue will be the home of the Southport Sharks senior football teams in both the VFL and QAFLW women’s competitions. It also includes purpose-built facilities for female sport, live outdoor music and events and additional community recreational facilities with an aquatics centre, outdoor basketball and netball courts and capacity to accommodate rectangular field sports such as soccer.

“We see an important role for Southport Sharks in making the Gold Coast the capital of women’s sport in Australia, and we are excited by just how much the right venue in the right location will assist as our city works towards that goal,” said Bowtell.

The stadium has been designed by Urbis to provide a distinctive event day experience and integrate the adjoining Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct, and Smith Collective Village. The location and design of the stadium seeks to capitalise on the central location of the club, which currently competes at the 8,000-capacity Fankhauser Reserve, existing transport infrastructure and the legacy of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which were held in the Gold Coast.

The Sharks said it will be easily accessible by two existing light rail stations, an existing bus network, and a range of other transport modes. The club is also working with project partners towards being Australia’s first green stadium by incorporating bioenergy infrastructure and a range of smart stadium technology.

In addition to the stadium, the Sharks’ masterplan creates opportunities for the precinct to accommodate additional residential development including build-to-rent, retirement living and affordable housing opportunities, in response to what the club says is an acute need for additional housing on the Gold Coast. It also proposes new facilities to support business, events and broadcasting as a leading sports tech sector.

“In the lead up to the (Brisbane) 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we are very focussed on the opportunity for Southport Sharks to be a cornerstone of Queensland’s emerging sports tech sector.” said Bowtell.

“We will keep building on our assets and the capabilities of our team, both on and off the field, to partner with other organisations in areas like athlete management, data analytics, wearables, fan engagement, stadium experience, esports and media, to position the precinct as the leading centre for sports tech in Queensland.”

Image: Southport Sharks