Start of a new era for a Victorian icon
The State Government and the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria today marked the start of a new era for one of Victoria’s most loved and popular icons, unveiling redevelopment plans for the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds.
The Premier, Steve Bracks, said the new Showgrounds would retain the facility’s best traditions, but include improved areas to create a better experience for visitors and exhibitors.
PPP Solutions – a consortium of financier Babcock and Brown, Multiplex Constructions, Multiplex Facilities Management, Spotless Services and Daryl Jackson Architects – will undertake the redevelopment.
The State Government is providing $101 million under a Joint Venture with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RAS) for the project.
“This project is about reinvigorating the Showgrounds, improving the link between regional and city residents and creating a better home for the Royal Melbourne Show for future generations to enjoy,” Mr Bracks said.
“The design carefully considers the traditions and heritage of the Showgrounds, incorporating new buildings to blend with existing infrastructure and creating an adaptable precinct for the Show and other events throughout the year.”
Chair of the Royal Agricultural Society, Jack Seymour, said the announcement was a major milestone, providing fantastic benefits for the long term future of the Showgrounds.
“Critically, the new facilities will guarantee the future of one of Victoria’s most popular and enduring public events – the Royal Melbourne Show,” Mr Seymour said.
“The 2005 Show will be conducted on the current site and the people of Victoria can expect all elements of the Show to be on offer.
“The new and improved facilities will continue to link the country to the city, creating a central hub to promote Victoria’s agribusiness across the State.”
Two-thirds of the 27 ha site will be developed as a venue for the Royal Melbourne Show, while ‘non-core’ land on the eastern, Epsom Road, side of the site is planned to be developed for commercial and/or retail use.
The future of the non-core land on the western, Langs Road, side is yet to be determined.
Highlights of the redevelopment include:
A Grand Pavilion – to be enclosed under a Big Top to protect against the weather;
A Town Square, providing a public open space separate from the main arena;
A revitalised main entrance and boulevard;
A new exhibition space and
An outdoor animal competition area.Major Projects Minister, Peter Batchelor, said many historic buildings at the site, including the Clydesdale Pavilion, Horticultural Hall and the Public Grandstand, would be retained and restored.
“The new buildings and facilities will blend seamlessly with the old to create a new and exciting venue, without in any way compromising the ‘Show experience’ Victorians have grown to love,” Mr Batchelor said.
“This is about creating an even better home away from home for over 10,000 animals over the 11 days of the Royal Melbourne Show each year.”
The redevelopment will also incorporate a range of environmental features, including rainwater tanks, AAA water fittings, energy efficient appliances, equipment and lighting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, solar-boosted hot water systems and energy efficient air conditioning systems.
PPP Solutions will now apply for planning and heritage approvals, providing members of the public with an opportunity to give feedback on the heritage aspects of detailed designs.
Redevelopment works are expected to commence early next year, with completion scheduled in time for the 2006 Show.
The redevelopment of the eastern non-core land will be undertaken once the Showgrounds land redevelopment is complete.
The Minister for Agriculture, Bob Cameron, said reinvigorating the Melbourne Show would contribute to the growth of the State’s agribusiness sector.
“Throughout its 120 year history, the Melbourne Showgrounds have linked the country and city. Through its redevelopment, it will continue to play this role, and provide a venue for the promotion, showcasing and advancing of the Victorian agribusiness sector,” Mr Cameron said.