Townsville’s new $290 million North Queensland Stadium will be ready for the start of the 2020 NRL Premiership Season despite unprecedented flooding earlier this year.
Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said the stadium contractor, Watpac, has sought an extension to the practical completion date of the stadium, but remained confident the massive project would still be open on schedule.
“Even with this inevitable delay we will still have plenty of time to put the venue through all its paces and it is still on track to be ready for the 2020 NRL season kick-off,” said Mr de Brenni.
“This is great news for Townsville and the Cowboys,” he said.
Mr de Brenni said his department was working with Watpac on an updated program of works for practical completion of the stadium that reflected the full impact of the extreme weather event.
“The floods had a huge impact on local businesses, including those helping to build the stadium,” he said.
“It was always going to take some to gauge the full impact of the floods and Watpac has now asked that we extend the practical completion date and we are working through how we accommodate that.”
While the construction site itself was not severely affected, Mr de Brenni said that during the event contractors and workers needed to go and protect their homes and businesses, and those of their families and friends, before the long task of cleaning up.
One business engaged with important work on the stadium that was impacted by the floods is Waters Abrasive Blasting Services.
The company’s factory was severely affected by the monsoonal rains that saw 1421mm of rain dumped on the city from 27 January to 9 February 2019.
General manager Chris Glendenning said his company was painting the steel for the new stadium at the time of the floods and had subsequently hired five extra staff to help complete the work.
“We had about a metre of water through our yards and buildings and even once that was gone still had problems with the roads being flooded,” he said.
“We lost about three weeks of work time thanks to the floods.
“It’s really hit this city hard.
“But the stadium is a great thing and will generate a lot of national and international interest in Townsville and help revitalise the CBD.”
Mr Glendenning said he believed the stadium would become a focal point for the entire North Queensland region.
“The location is terrific and it’s really starting to look spectacular,” he said.
Townsville Deputy Mayor Les Walker said the North Queensland Stadium was one of the major projects supporting the city’s economic recovery.
“Townsville’s economy is turning around and major projects like the North Queensland Stadium and the new water pipeline will support thousands of local jobs between them,” Cr Walker said.
“The Stadium will also be so important in encouraging urban renewal and it has already attracted significant private investment into our city.
“Council is leveraging off this infrastructure investment to revitalise our inner city through Townsville 2020 projects such as the Central Park redevelopment and linking the Stadium Precinct through to the CBD.”
Mr de Brenni said everyone involved with the stadium was working hard to get it finished.
“I have visited the site and Watpac have given me a promise that they will make it happen on time,” he said.
Source: Queensland Government