The Cost of Infrastructure for the Games

By April 4, 2018Research

All eyes will be on the Gold Coast as the opening ceremony for the 2018 Commonwealth Games takes place tonight. The Games will welcome more than 6,600 athletes and officials from 71 Commonwealth nations and territories to compete and celebrate sporting events from swimming to wrestling. 

It is well known that every few years millions or billions of dollars are poured into host cities for the Games, with constructions of stadiums, hotels and sporting centres taking preference in investment opportunities. Major sporting events have almost bankrupted cities with purpose-built infrastructure turning into ghost towns. Much like the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, where training pools and fields, a hockey stadium and a beach volleyball court haven’t been touched since the event. There is also the consideration that these events always leave an environmental footprint too big to be ignored, from the countless planes, car and buses that run non-stop for all destination purposes within the cities, to the litter left by patrons in conclusion of each day’s events.

Image: Athens Abandoned Pool

Though staging major sporting events can come with the positive economic return when cities invest wisely. Since winning the Commonwealth Games bid in 2010, the Gold Coast has seen an increasing stream of private, public and government development of infrastructure. Reports show that the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games is costing $2 billion to run, with recent reports estimating up to a $4 billion in economic return.

What’s more beneficial is the strategy behind infrastructure development, by ensuring venues and public investments not only meet the needs of the Games but continue to serve the community post games. This is seen in the revitalisation of existing sporting centres such as the $6 million investment of Carrara Sports Precinct, which will hold both the opening and closing ceremonies among sporting events. Post games, the centre will continue to be the home of the Gold Coast Suns Australian Football team, as well as offering corporate hospitality facilities and improved media facilities.

Image: Carrara Stadium Render

Other infrastructure developments are guided by environmentally sustainable design principles. The Games Village, as the largest urban renewal project for the Gold Coast with $550 million investment, has transformed Parklands into 1,252 permanent dwellings that will be used to house athletes and officials during the games. This area also has 7.3 hectares of green and open space, including community park and extensive landscaped areas, totalling 136,420 trees being planted. This development achieved a full 6 Leaf Enviro Development Mixed Use accreditation from the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) for its commitment to ecosystems, waste, energy, water, materials and community, as well as a 6 Green Star Communities pilot rating from the Green Building Council Australia (GBCA), this is equal to ‘World Leadership’ in sustainability. Post Games, the development is to be used as a mixed-use residential and commercial Health and Knowledge Precinct.

As the Gold Coast is adding finishing touches for the event, it is almost certain the investment made for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games is paying off, with a new strategy of community commitment and cost-effective style in hosting a major sporting event.

 

Cover Image: Grocon Edits: Rhiannon Smit

Mia Hickey

Author Mia Hickey

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