February 2023 Update:

The planned redevelopment of the Bill Lawry Oval pavilion in Northcote has been postponed and will now be considered as part of the 2023/2024 budget consultation.

Construction has been postponed due to a combination of rising inflation and construction costs, interest rate rises and the continuing impact of rate capping.

Council will still start works within the next few months to ensure the bluestone retaining wall on Westgarth Street is made safe. This means the community can expect the traffic management and footpath closures currently in place to remain for a few more months. We continue to apologise for the inconvenience.

We remain committed to the health and wellbeing of our community and will keep you updated as we plan for this project into the future.

Community engagement on the 2023/2024 draft budget is taking place from 6-26 February 2023 with a draft budget for 2023/2024 to be presented to Council for adoption in June 2023. Visit yoursay.darebin.vic.gov.au/budget2023-24 for information and to have your say.

What’s Happened So Far

Together with Council, Brand Architects developed a concept design for the project. In November 2021 we asked you for feedback on this concept design. Watch the video below as Brand Architects take you through the concept design.

About the design: The redevelopment of Bill Lawry Oval Pavilion will provide multi-purpose facilities designed to connect users with their communities and their physical environment.

The new pavilion will link Bill Lawry Oval with Oldis Gardens through gateways, breezeways, elevated views, landscape interventions and an informal performance space.

The building, which ‘grows’ out of the ground, has been carefully designed to preserve the heritage of the place. The breezeway and cantilever create an architectural form that touches down lightly whilst the elevated social room maintains and preserves views from the grandstand.

New trees, accessible green roofs, and raised planters integrate the building with the surrounding landscape, converting the pavilion into an intermediary parkland that traces the border between oval and gardens.

The project will achieve a 5-star Green Star rating by making use of sustainable design initiatives.

What is Happening Now

From July you will start to see some construction activities happening at the oval.

1. Undergrounding of powerlines

Works will soon start to underground a small section of overhead powerlines that run from Westgarth Street into Oldis Gardens, behind where the existing pavilion is. These works will be conducted by the local power authority, CitiPower. While the works are happening there may be some restrictions on accessing Oldis Gardens from Westgarth Street.

We expect that the undergrounding of the powerlines will be completed by early November 2022.

2. Westgarth Street footpath and bluestone wall works

We recently closed part of the southern pedestrian footpath on Westgarth Street, Northcote near the Bill Lawry Oval, following advice that the bluestone retaining wall next to the footpath is at risk of collapse.

So we can keep you safe, the footpath will stay closed while we work to stabilise the retaining wall.

What we’re doing to fix this:

  • A new temporary footpath has been installed using parallel car parks on Westgarth Street.
  • The speed limit is temporarily 40kmph in some parts of Westgarth Street to make it safer for pedestrians in this area. These changes will be in place until the bluestone retaining wall is made safe. At this stage we can’t confirm how long this will be for. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
  • To stabilise the retaining wall, three trees will be removed from the Bill Lawry Oval embankment. Twelve new trees will be replanted in this area as part of the redevelopment works starting late 2022.

3. Removal and replanting of trees

In fixing the bluestone wall, the three large trees on the Westgarth Street embankment will be removed. This includes the two Poplars near the flag poles and the Sugar Gum near the maintenance sheds. Structural engineers engaged by Council have advised that the extensive root systems of the trees have contributed significantly to the destabilisation of the wall. The large Sugar Gum tree is located very close to the wall, and its root system has visibly pushed out the retaining wall so that it is now leaning. In addition, the Sugar Gum’s tree canopy is also located very close to the overhead high and low voltage powerlines. The tree is showing some signs of decline such as evidence of deadwood and thinning out of the canopy. The health of the two poplar trees is also declining. It is for all of these reasons Council is removing the trees.

We will be planting twelve new trees on the embankment to provide shade to spectators and to replace the trees we need to remove. The new trees species have been carefully selected, and we have decided on species that have controlled root systems so that we don’t have the same problem where the roots of the trees impact the structure of the retaining wall.

4. Appointment of a construction contractor

We have invited four construction contractors to tender for the project. The four contractors are:

  • 2Construct
  • Alchemy Construct
  • Commercial Industrial Construction Group (CICG)
  • Lloyd Group

We are working towards appointing a builder to construct the project as soon as possible.

Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section of this page to the right for more detailed information.

What’s happening next

We are working hard to resolve the safety concerns regarding the bluestone wall and will provide updates as they come to hand.

Cricket and AFL clubs can use temporary sporting facilities that will be installed for while construction is underway. These portable buildings will be placed behind the western goals on the oval, near the Oldis Gardens half basketball court. The facilities will include change rooms, umpires facilities, a kiosk for use during game day as well as public toilets.

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