Rail yards in line to be Games centrepiece
THE main stadium for an Olympic Games could be built over the top of the Mayne rail yards at Bowen Hills.
Sources told The Courier-Mail that the site could be capped to construct the centrepiece of an Olympic precinct as part of a multibillion-dollar urban renewal of the inner-city suburb.
It is understood that Albion Park Paceway is also under consideration as a key venue and the adjacent Allan Border Field could be used for warm-up facilities.
The feasibility report, prepared by specialist sports consultants Event Knowledge Services, does not identify a preferred site for the venue to stage the opening and closing ceremonies and main track and field competitions.
But the consensus is that it would have to be in central Brisbane with access to excellent public transport facilities.
There are few sites that meet the criteria.
Victoria Park, which is home to a golf course, had been considered the frontrunner, but The Courier-Mail was told it had been ruled out as an option. Brisbane City Council and the State Government are reluctant to sacrifice further inner-city green space.
Redeveloping the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre, formerly QEII Stadium, at Nathan, which hosted the 1982 Commonwealth Games, was dismissed as being too far out, without rail links and on a site too constrained to be expanded.
Bowen Hills, just 3km from the city, has all north-south City Network rail routes running through it. The station is next to the rail stabling yards and Exhibition Station, at the RNA Showgrounds, which will be upgraded as part of the Cross River Rail project, is within walking distance.
The suburb has been designated as a priority development area by the Queensland Government, which identified the rail yards as state-owned land that could be sold to the private sector for transit-oriented development.
James Tuma, national director of urban design company Urbis, said while there were design and engineering challenges, the site had "enormous potential".
"A major event impetus, whether it's an Olympic Games or something else, is the catalyst you could use to do that," Mr Tuma said.
"It would offer a really unique opportunity for new community infrastructure as well as housing and commercial development, et cetera.
"It would be very attractive to international capital (investors) because of its location close to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, the city's biggest employer, and the RNA renewal area."
NewsCorp Australia, publisher of The Courier-Mail, previously unveiled a masterplan for the $2 billion Millennium Square project at Bowen Hills. It included a multimedia hub, seven apartment towers, a hotel, an underground retail centre, entertainment facilities and public gardens linked to a redeveloped Bowen Hills train station.