It all started with an idea from a Gloucester resident about re-purposing Allianz Stadium chairs and now, a couple truck loads have arrived at Gloucester Showground.
Ray Fitzgerald started the ball rolling by contacting the State government about recycling the chairs upon the demolition of the Sydney stadium. He thought it would be a great idea for the government to hand them out to the regional communites instead of destroying them.
After he got the okay from the Sydney Cricket Sports Ground Trust, he put a call out to all the Gloucester sports clubs and community organisations to find out who was interested; and the Gloucester Show committee put its hand up.
Leaving Gloucester before dawn on Friday, December 14, Ray and several volunteers travelled down in a few cattle trucks. The chairs had been placed in a corner of the stadium for the group to come in and take; and so they did.
They picked up over 1,000 seats with the plan for the majority of them to be used at the Gloucester Showground in a new proposed building to be located under the existing bar.
In regard to using the seats at other sport fields around town, Ray has run into a little bit of a snag with MidCoast Council.
After numerous attempts to contact council and offer them the opportunity to take up the free chairs for projects like the upgrade of the Burt Gallagher Oval grandstand, Ray received word from council that the chairs were of no use to them.
Despite council’s response, Ray pressed on as he was determined to collect the free chairs for use by the community.
According to council, its supports the chairs being used at the Gloucester Showground.
Manager of Community Spaces Recreation and Trades, Dan Aldridge said while council was appreciative of the offer of the chairs, they were unable to be accepted at this point in time.
“We did give the proposal considerable consideration, however unfortunately the chairs weren’t the best option for our facilities,” Mr Aldridge explained. “The seating was not designed for open spaces, but rather stadiums and controlled areas.”
“Our preference for outdoor areas such as the recreational grounds is for portable seating that is fit for purpose and can be moved when required to service different areas.”
In regard to Ray’s suggestion for the seating to be used in the new grandstand, council said it’s not ready.
“As part of the grant funding for this project, we do have to undertake a detailed design and that would determine if the chairs were suitable for the site, unfortunately the timing of that design process didn’t fit in with the timeframe for accepting the chairs.”