Lavington Oval 'in the wrong spot' for major events |POLL

EDITORIAL: Sharing the big events

ALBURY Sportsground has been pinpointed as having far greater long-term potential as a host of major sporting events than Lavington Oval.

University of Melbourne post-graduate urban design student Andrew Boyd Barber said Albury Council should start planning for an upgraded sportsground precinct.

The former Border resident said Lavington Oval was simply in the wrong place for a ground Albury Council wanted to use to continue to attract major sporting events.

Mr Boyd Barber said poor public transport, encroaching urban development and the potential for noise and light pollution issues with residents were issues of concern.

“This is a long-term strategic decision that needs to be looked at,” he said.

Mr Boyd Barber said a redeveloped Albury Sportsground could make “really good connections” to the river, pool and other sporting facilities.

“If you use that Melbourne Park model they can share facilities, such as car parking,” he said.

Mr Boyd Barber is a graduate in architecture now halfway through a 2½ year Masters of Urban Design and Planning degree at the University of Melbourne.

He is also vice-president of the university’s Urban Design Society, with a special interest in Olympic-type precincts.

Mr Boyd Barber cited the AFL’s decision to sell its ground at Waverley in favour of the Docklands stadium in central Melbourne.

“Waverley is an incredible oval in the middle of suburbia that now has this radiating pattern of houses,” he said.

Mr Boyd Barber said it had simply become unviable to have a huge stadium in such a residential location.

“People couldn’t really access it that easily,” he said.

Mr Boyd Barber said Lavington Oval contained the same elements.

“You’ve got an oval on the outer fringe of an urban area that is slowly being encroached on by development,” he said.

“It was designed in an era when planning was driven by cars — you could build something in the middle of nowhere and then park in a paddock.”

Mr Boyd Barber said people jumping into cars was becoming less viable as a way of getting people to and from big events.

Mr Boyd Barber said a redeveloped Albury Sportsground precinct — something he accepted could take many years to realise — would encourage more people to travel to Albury for major events.

Albury Council spent more than $500,000 bringing the lighting at Lavington Oval up to standard for AFL pre-season games.

But Lavington has not hosted an AFL pre-season game since 2012 when Gold Coast played Greater Western Sydney.

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