Proposal won’t save Leichhardt Oval: mayor

By Joe Barton,

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    Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne says the current proposal to rebuild Balmain Leagues Club would have no impact on keeping the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.

    Balmain great Paul Sironen on Monday handed nearly 5,000 submissions to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure in support of bringing the leagues club back to its Rozelle base.

    Sironen said the development was crucial to saving rugby league in the inner west, and would shore up the future of Leichhardt Oval – which could stop hosting games after next year, Wests Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys told a Sunday newspaper.

    But Byrne said it was misinformation to suggest approving the 24-storey proposal at the Rozelle site would increase the likelihood of the Tigers retaining a base at their spiritual home, where they currently play three games a year.

    “There’s not a cent for the club in the redevelopment,” Byrne told AAP.

    “There’s no cash payment to the club if this redevelopment is approved.

    “The only benefit for the club is a 15-year lease at commercial rates.

    “We had a representative of the club suggest in the paper on Sunday that this would be the last year the Tigers would play at Leichhardt Oval.

    “Some people might interpret it as hypocrisy to suggest that we have to have skyscrapers in Rozelle to bring the Tigers home, whilst in the same breath agreeing to the government and the NRL’s proposal to end rugby league at Leichhardt Oval.”

    Sironen admitted the future of the Tigers was in doubt if the latest proposal was blocked.

    “It’s dire alright. It could spell the end of (the fight to save the leagues club),” he said.

    “That’s how bad it is. We need support from the leagues club to help fund Tigers football.

    “This has dragged on for a long time now. For the sake of Tigers football in the Balmain area we need some positive news.”

    While Sironen was pleased to have Byrne’s support for keeping Leichhardt Oval operational, he urged the mayor to listen to the fans who want a rebuilt leagues club.

    “It sounds like the mayor is fully supportive of keeping the football ground there and NRL games there, but I wish it was the same with the leagues club side at Rozelle,” Sironen said.

    “As the mayor said, listen to the fans. The fans want us to go back to Rozelle as well.”

    To which Byrne responded: “(The form letter) asks people to show their support for the Tigers return to Rozelle – you’ll find no one who supports that more strongly than me.

    “But to interpret people signing onto that statement as them supporting 24-storey skyscrapers in low-rise Rozelle is stretching the truth quite a bit.”

    Byrne said it was unlikely the latest proposal would be approved, saying independent assessors had given it the thumbs down.

    “The independent advice that we’ve got from planning experts and the people who are most respected in their field is that the revised proposal will still have a disastrous impact on local traffic, local businesses and will draw Victoria Road to a standstill,” he said.

    “As desperate as I am to see the Tigers return to Rozelle through a sensible redevelopment, I’m not in a position to ignore the independent planning advice of experts.

    “The proposal as it stands doesn’t comply with a single one of the state government’s own planning controls.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • December 11th 2012 @ 10:24am
      Bulldogs Member said | December 11th 2012 @ 10:24am | ! Report

      Leichhardt Oval does’nt need to be wiped out completely, it could still be used for travelling teams who have small supporter bases in Sydney. Leichhardt sells out on Sunday afternoon no matter who the tigers play.

    • December 11th 2012 @ 11:54am
      clipper said | December 11th 2012 @ 11:54am | ! Report

      Sounds like Sironen is trying to bully the council into approving the development. The council has to think of the locals, who would be disadvantaged by such a huge building, to say nothing of Victoria Road which is almost at a standstill now.

      • December 11th 2012 @ 2:08pm
        Crosscoder said | December 11th 2012 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

        But Sydney transport infrastructure (Victoria Road)is not supposed to affect travelling to centralised venues.Proving the problem in another thread.

        Sironen is doing what any proposers would do,the fors and the againsts.Bullying!!! no more than greens or envoironmental groups do on such matters.
        Residents are concerned about issues that affect them directly.The presence of Buttocks and his presentation is just that,part of the total process,and hardly going to change the minds of residents who have made a firm stand.

        Reduce the size of the development further ,surely there is room for compromise.Seems to me the developers wont budge any further.

        Crystal ball gazing,I see the club domiciled in Campbelltown,with the big ticket games at ANZ and the odd one at Leichhardt.It does not look positive for the Tigers inner city wise.

        • December 11th 2012 @ 3:02pm
          clipper said | December 11th 2012 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

          I think we can all agree that congestion is a major problem on arterial roads in any big city. I don’t think Sironen would be detailing too much against, although with Buttocks present anything is possible. Anything over 3 or 4 stories on that corner would not only look awful, but would make life very crowded.

          • December 12th 2012 @ 9:01am
            Crosscoder said | December 12th 2012 @ 9:01am | ! Report

            Then again look at the developments in Waterloo and Alexandria,right next to the main entry to Sydney.
            I know Harry Triguboff is rubbing his hads with glee,but a couple of the buildings up to 30 stories.It is starting to look like a mini Manhattan.

            There must be a point sizewise,where the developers can make a dollar and the locals find acceptable.If there is no middle ground,the Tigers are in deep you know what.

      • December 12th 2012 @ 4:41am
        G McDonald said | December 12th 2012 @ 4:41am | ! Report

        That was nonsense saying sirro is trying to bully the council. Love those guys but it is over the club has been run by morons and it has finally killed us. I remember the alan jones days the free coach and now Mick potter pretty much the same. After 2005 and with sheens we should have built a winning culture but just released so many players. Gibbs sings a 3 year contract and is sacked 5 months later and now Chris H. We have 4 home grounds and if we mange to get a home final stephen humphreys sucks up to the nrl once again and gives it away. Then sheens is sacked for non performance?????????? how many injuries this year???????????How can the staunchest of tigers stand for this. Skyscappers in Rozelle my ass, redeveloping Calan Park might be an answer.

    • December 11th 2012 @ 12:43pm
      Black and Fold said | December 11th 2012 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

      Couldn’t happen to a nicer club. They hve been poorly run for many years and offer ltte to the JV whose future MUST be in the Macarthur dstrict

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      December 11th 2012 @ 4:08pm
      Valleys Diehard from Brunswick st. said | December 11th 2012 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

      @Black and Fold, how have they been poorly run? Good crowds, solid membership (by RL standards), limited off-field problems (again… by RL standards), wonderful supporters, and they have a decent revenue strategy (again…yes, by RL standards).

      I could agree if you were to say that they were a poorly managed football team, perennially under-performing with poor player recruitment and retention strategies. Although that would only put them in the same bracket as the Warriors, Cowboys and Parramatta. At least the last 10 years have a Premiership yield.

      Keep in mind, and I am aware that you could be a Magpie.. that this was the only true merger with a cultural link to both clubs. Macarthur is not a Tigers only concern. What is the new Commission doing about canonising the game in the area? SW Sydney should be looming large on their radar.

    • December 11th 2012 @ 10:00pm
      Black&Gold said | December 11th 2012 @ 10:00pm | ! Report

      I wrote a letter as a teenager every month to the Balmain Leagues club (in the 1980’s) to consider moving their club to the old APIA club(now La Montage) at the bottom of Leichhardt oval. I could see that Victoria road wasn’t going to work long term even then.
      Can you imagine a magnificent leagues club overlooking the beautiful bay at dusk packed full of Tigers supporters (who only had to walk down the hill 50 metres) celebrating a spirited win and pumping money into the club and then hopping on the light rail extension back home?!?!
      And now they have shot themselves in the foot .
      It was a once in a generation opportunity.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

    • December 12th 2012 @ 10:17am
      Seano said | December 12th 2012 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      Afl teams don’t have these mega clubs why don’t the tigers sign up some members?

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

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