THE City of Kingston is becoming a home of football. Hawthorn Football Club look set to make Dingley its training base home in a move that follows St Kilda Football Club’s return to Moorabbin.
Councillors at last month’s Kingston Council public council meeting unanimously backed the Hawks’ proposal to build “an elite sporting and community facility” at a 28-hectare site at Tootal Rd in Dingley Village.
Commercial signage use is restricted in Kingston’s Green Wedge but councillors acknowledged billboards around the field within the training ground are needed for club sponsorship reasons when TV crews will film at the venue.
“The North Ward will be the beacon for the AFL in Melbourne,” Cr Paul Peulich said.
“I look forward to seeing this being progressed in the future and seeing some more detailed designs.”
Hawthorn lodged a planning application last month signalling their intent to build a training base at Dingley. The Hawks decided expansion options at their existing Waverley Park headquarters is too restrictive.
Hawthorn CEO Stuart Fox said the planning application was just one step in a due diligence process to assess whether the club will proceed with the construction of a $40-$60 million training base in Dingley.
“The next 12 months will be crucial in terms of thoroughly investigating the site, from a planning and environmental point of view, and to determine if the site is capable of housing a world-class training and administration facility that can attract the best players, coaches and staff,” Mr Fox said in a statement.
“Furthermore, the site must allow our members to feel part of the club and to create a destination that is accessible to all. Our present facility is not conducive to this requirement, which we regard as fundamental to aligning with our values as the family club.
“This has been a very thorough and comprehensive process to date. We are six months into the due diligence process which is expected to be finalised in late 2016. At the end of this process the club will make an informed decision on the future of the facility and site.
“We plan to keep members, Hawthorn supporters and fans informed at every stage of this journey.”
The new sports venue will house four football ovals, a cafe, shop, administration offices, a function centre and seating for up to 1000 people.
Councillors noted traffic flow in the area would need to be managed if the venue is built.
Kingston Council will write to Planning Minister Richard Wynne asking for permission to allow signage at the sporting precinct and remove a Green Wedge restriction of a 150 person limit at a function centre.
“I am very pleased to see a [recent] three-time Premiership team like the Hawks finding the Kingston Green Wedge as a place that they want to build their future in,” Cr Steve Staikos said.
“That’s the vision of this council as well in terms of wanting to see sporting precincts of this nature attracted to the Green Wedge.”
Community feedback on the project will be sought by council before any final decision on the development is made.
Last month the Labor state government announced a further $12 million in funding to St Kilda Football Club’s move back to Moorabbin ensuring its $30 million project can proceed.
The AFL and AFL Victoria are contributing $6 million to the construction of the Linton St training venue, Kingston Council is putting in $5 million of ratepayers’ money and local football and netball leagues are contributing $400,000. The Saints will contribute $5 million.