After gale-force winds destroyed part of WIN Stadiums’ new grandstand in September last year, the Wollongong community called out for answers. As a result, the Illawarra Venues Authority (IVA) launched an enquiry into the event.

The former Labor government contributed $30 million toward the construction of the new grandstand; local MP Noreen Hay is looking for answers regarding the design of the original structure.

“A substantial amount of money has been poured into this project, so the people issuing the contract should expect that the outcome would be more than satisfactory,” she said.

The project which was originally completed in July 2011, buckled under the pressure of seasonal 80km winds, the structure which spans 85m was supposed to be able to endure winds of up to 160 km p/h.

Poor weather conditions in January pushed back work on the project, with the roof finally being fitted last weekend.

The newly improved truss is rectangular in shape, which should provide the strength to resist adverse weather conditions.

Ms Hay has some issues with the continuation of the project, prior to the release of engineering findings from an enquiry made in to the faults, which left the large steel roof flapping in the wind.

“If the public doesn’t see the findings of the enquiry then we won’t know if the new roof will be any stronger,” she said.

Ms Hay is worried about the negative effect this event has had on her community, including the disruption of local traffic due to the road nearest the grandstand being cut off.

Her other concern is regarding the effect on local businesses, such as the Steelers Club, which is adjacent to WIN stadium, who will suffer during the football season if Dragons home games are forced to be played at the alternate home ground in Kogarah.

The Current approached management at WIN Entertainment Centre, in charge of WIN Stadium, for comment but it was unavailable for comment.

Words: Belinda Cleary
Photos: Thom Farquhar

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