Raymond Park to Become Temporary Warm-Up Venue for 2032 Brisbane Olympics

Did you know that Raymond Park has been selected to become a temporary warm-up venue for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics?

Situated on the inner southside of Brisbane, a mere 500 metres from the Gabba stadium, Raymond Park will take on a crucial role as a training ground for track-and-field athletes during the upcoming international sporting event.

Traditionally, warm-up tracks are positioned close to Olympic athletic venues. Space constraints around the Gabba stadium, however, have led to the selection of Raymond Park instead.

A temporary four-lane track, boasting six-lane straight and complete warm-up facilities will be constructed.

Opting for a four-lane track with a six-lane straight, the Organising Committee remains in alignment with International Federation requirements whilst minimising disruption to residents and preserving the park’s trees.

Raymond Park Selected as Temporary Olympic Warm-Up Venue for Brisbane 2032 Games
Photo Credit: Facebook / Amy MacMahon – Greens MP for South Brisbane

Assurances have also been made by the Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee, Brisbane City Council, and the State government that there will be no resumptions of homes to make room for the temporary facilities.

To ensure the sports facility fits perfectly within the park’s existing dimensions and alleviate concerns about potential housing loss, proposals for a thinner track are also being explored.

The plan also provides for protection of the park’s heritage structures as well as a brand new clubhouse for the Kangaroo Point Rovers Football Club.

In the period leading up to the Games, the Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee is expected to maintain a close partnership with the Queensland government to keep the community well-informed about the planning and progress of the warm-up facilities. 

Praising the residents of Kangaroo Point for their cooperation and patience during the planning phase, Andrew Liveris, the President of the Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee, emphasised the commitment to being excellent neighbours and upholding transparency throughout the process.

Published 7-August-2023

Kangaroo Point Homes Spared From Demolition for Olympics Development

Kangaroo Point homeowners can breathe a sigh of relief following the confirmation that their properties will be spared from demolition, which would have paved the way for the construction of the athletics warm-up track for the highly anticipated 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

The updated plans for the Raymond Park transformation were released Monday, 31 July 2023, putting an end to weeks of uncertainty and vocal protests from residents who were vehemently opposing the potential loss of their homes and public green space.

Initially, there were fears among Kangaroo Point homeowners that their homes would be among those resumed to accommodate the temporary warm-up facilities. The decision to utilise Raymond Park as the warm-up venue was necessitated by the lack of available space around the nearby Gabba Stadium, which is set to undergo a substantial reconstruction at an estimated cost of $2.7 billion. 

However, Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee president Andrew Liveris reassured the residents, stating that no home resumptions would be required.

“Heritage structures within the park will remain in place, and the Queensland Government will work with the local football club to build a new clubhouse within Raymond Park,” Liveris said

“Importantly, there are no expected impacts for Raymond Park until much closer to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We are committed to being good neighbours to the residents of Raymond Park and will work closely with the Queensland Government to ensure the community is kept informed of planning and progress over the coming years.” 

Deputy Premier Steven Miles also confirmed that the revised plans for the Olympics refurbishments “will fit in Raymond Park without resuming houses.” The updated plans would include a thinner track to fit within the current dimensions of the park, thus minimizing impacts on residents and preserving larger, older fig trees. Any impacted trees will be relocated, replanted, or replaced to ensure no net loss.

Despite the relief of no home resumptions, Kangaroo Point homeowners were still vocal about their concerns regarding the scale of the proposed development. 

Kangaroo Point
Photo Credit: AmyMacMahon/Facebook

Local Greens MP Amy MacMahon, who has been actively championing their cause, expressed her disappointment with the complete overhaul of Raymond Park. She supported a petition to save the park that garnered over 3,000 signatures. 

“This design doesn’t address what the community has been calling for – the scrapping of the $2.7 billion Gabb redevelopment, saving Raymond Park, saving East Brisbane State School, and saving billions in public money,” MacMahon said

“Hopefully it’s fact and cannot wait for the official notification from the state government,” Kangaroo Point resident Marcia Pavlos said on the Friends of Raymond Park, Kangaroo Point group. “This is a massive breakthrough and is life changing for those who have endured much stress, sleep deprivation and adverse health issues just knowing that we could be displaced just like that for a temporary facility. 

“Some sanity seems to have prevailed and consideration and some respect have finally been shown to affected local residents. The fight continues though with saving the school and park. We will keep the community spirit going until the crazy plan for the Gabba is abolished and athletics is moved to another venue.”

Published 1-Aug-2023

Site Surveys Underway to Prepare Raymond Park for the Olympics

A group of locals has strongly opposed plans to use Raymond Park, the only green space in Kangaroo Point, as a warm-up field for Olympic athletes, as residents start receiving letters informing them of a two-week site survey on Raymond Park to potentially prepare the area for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

The letter was taken as an indication that the redevelopment of Raymond Park will forge ahead even with little public consultations, as some residents claim that attempts to raise their concerns with officials have fallen on deaf ears.

Friends of Raymond Park Page has a copy of the letter on a post saying that the potential Olympic-standard warm-up track could leave eight families homeless as their houses are at the front of the park. Changes to the green might also destroy the community garden, remove the dog park and the outdoor gym, and impact the 100-year-old soccer club. 

Raymond Park letter
Photo Credit: Janita Dal Cin

Paul, one of the residents whose houses could be resumed for a temporary event, also spoke on the radio with Bill McDonald. He said they have been trying to get answers about the plans but no one from the government has replied to their emails.

Max Chandler-Mather, the Federal MP for Griffith, reacted to the letter.

“The first letter residents of Kangaroo Point have received from the Government about the Olympics isn’t to offer a consultation, or ask them if they would like to host an Olympics warm-up track in their backyard, it’s been to inform them that the decision has apparently been made, congratulations, say goodbye to your local park,” Mr Chandler-Mather posted

“The Queensland Government is pretending like this decision has already been made, when the Federal Government won’t even confirm if they support building a new stadium, let alone demolishing the Gabba, East Brisbane State School and Raymond Park.

“The Government has told residents it’s an “enormous privilege” to host the Olympics. Well it’s not a privilege to lose a brilliant local green space with 100-year-old fig trees, a playground, a dog park, the Kangaroo Point Rovers soccer club, and a community garden.”

No designs nor details of the project scope for the Raymond Park warm-up fields have been released. Both State and Federal Governments have yet to finalise the funding arrangement that will pay for the construction and refurbishment of Olympic facilities. 

Meanwhile, Kangaroo Point residents have started a campaign to save Raymond Park and proposed Giffin Park in Coorparoo as the alternative for the warm-up track. 

Road to 10,000 Signatures to Save Raymond Park in Kangaroo Point

A group of concerned locals has been aiming to gather 10,000 signatures to save Raymond Park in Kangaroo Point from becoming an Olympic training ground. 

The petition, created by Melissa Occhipinti of the Friends of Raymond Park, has secured over 2,700 signatures so far. It cites the potential disruption and reduced usability of the green space if Raymond Park is converted into a temporary training ground for the 2023 Brisbane Olympics. 

The Kangaroo Point green space was chosen as the temporary warm-up ground for the athletes due to its proximity to The Gabba, one of the central Olympic venues. As it stands, there are not enough green spaces for residents in inner city locations. 

If the park becomes an Olympic training ground, the residents said they will lose their off-leash dog park, fitness spaces, basketball and cricket grounds, as well as outdoor recreation sites including children’s parties. 

Photo Credit: Friends of Raymond Park/Facebook

“Raymond (Pineapple) Park is a crucial green space and vital to the mental health and wellbeing of the local Kangaroo Point and Woolloongabba community.  It is effectively our backyard,” the petition stated. 

In a separate interview, Ms Occhipinti said that installing Olympic-ready training tracks will likely remove the dog park, and impact the century-old fig and palm trees, as well as the picnic grounds and community gardens. The residents also believe that there could be a resumption of houses. 

Instead, the petition recommends constructing the Olympic training ground at the Coorparoo Giffin Park precinct, located 2.1kms away from The Gabba.

Per Ms Occhipinti, this will create more positive outcomes compared to the Kangaroo Point site since Giffin Park is also the site for many sporting activities from local clubs and schools.

Friends of Raymond Park are also urging locals to email MP Terri Butler to present the concerns of Kangaroo Point residents and oppose the planned training ground in Parliament. 

In mid-2021, Lord Mayor Adrian announced a $50-million plan to upgrade parks before the Olympics. Raymond Park will get $287,000 while Giffin Park will receive $750,000. Also receiving upgrades are Emerson Park in Grange ($459,000), and the Chelmer Sports Grounds ($1.2 million). 

New sports parks will also be built across the city for a budget of $19 million, whilst the rest of the funding will be used “for maintenance and improvement works at existing sporting clubs.” 

Locals Concerned About Losing Green Space After Raymond Park Upgrades

“Save our green space!” Concerned that plans to upgrade Raymond Park will “disrupt the balance,” Kangaroo Point residents launched an online petition to express their objection over plans to upgrade the park and construct warm-up facilities for the 2032 Olympics.

An online petition was launched to urge decision-makers to ditch their plans for the park and instead redirect the funds to the Coorparoo Giffin Park precinct, where such a facility is needed.

Brisbane City Council wants to upgrade fields being used by the Kangaroo Point Rovers and the Brisbane City Quidditch Club to serve as Olympic training ground and will invest $287,000 for the project.

The petition said that the park provides “a mix of community sport, open space, family recreation and barbecue facilities” which balance would be disrupted if plans for Raymond Park upgrade push through.

Concerns were also raised that a facility of Olympic standard would require more space than the park could provide, thus resulting in possible land resumption to accommodate the project.

Instead, the proposal suggests that funds be redirected to Coorparoo Giffin Park. The petition also highlighted several benefits to investing in the Coorparoo Giffin Park precinct for Olympics training purposes.

According to the petition, the facilities will be built where they are needed and the proposed solution would benefit local schools and sporting clubs. It added that Coorparoo Giffin Park precinct would also benefit economically by way of renting out these facilities for Olympic and other events, among other benefits to the government and Coorparoo locals.

“The importance of this green space was highlighted during and now post COVID, where we’ve seen an increase in the use of the park and its facilities by the local community. Inner city green space is rare, and vital to the liveability and mental health of local residents,” the online petition explained.

“Raymond park represents 49% of the available green space in Kangaroo Point, and without this, we fall well below the BCC required green space of .8ha per 1000 residents. We have to speak up now to preserve this vital green space for our local residents and future generations.”

Raymond Park Upgrades As Brisbane Prepares To Be Olympic-ready

Kangaroo Point’s Raymond Park will receive an upgrade, thanks to the $50 million boost to sporting facilities across Brisbane, as part of the preparations to make it an Olympic-ready city.

Read: Design for New Kangaroo Point Green Bridge Includes Above-Water Restaurants

Brisbane is unofficially selected to host the 2032 Summer Games and is expected to be confirmed on 21 July 2021, before Tokyo 2020 officially kicks off. 

Kangaroo Point’s Raymond Park will be used as a warm-up field for athletes if Brisbane was chosen to host the 2032 Olympics. The Council has already allocated the fund to improve the fields that will be used by the Kangaroo Point Rovers Football Club and the Brisbane City Quidditch Club.

“The inner-city Raymond Park will receive $287,000 to improve the fields which are used by many sporting groups including the Kangaroo Point Rovers and the Brisbane City Quidditch Club,” Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner announced.

Kangaroo Point Rovers Football Club at Raymond Park (Photo credit: Kangaroo Point Rovers FC/Facebook)

In addition to Raymond Park, other parks in Brisbane will also receive the much-needed upgrades, including Chelmer Sports Ground, Giffin Park in Coorparoo, Emerson Park at the Grange.

Aside from upgrades to existing facilities, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner also announced that a new sports park will be built at Nudgee. Construction works for the $16 million Nudgee Recreation Reserve improvement project is set to start in late 2021.

Raymond Park is known for its irregularity in shape because of the presence of Pineapple Hotel in the South. And because of the hotel, it was formerly known as Pineapple Park or Pineapple Ground. In 1915, the park had its official name, in honour Alfred John Raymond who was Alderman in Kangaroo Point for a long time and a Brisbane Mayor in 1912.