Cook: Don't muddy project

Thursday, March 20
Geelong Advertiser

GEELONG chief executive Brian Cook hasn't closed the door on one day lighting up Skilled Stadium despite yesterday ruling out buying the Waverley Park lights.

He said the priority was to get the stadium redevelopment up and running and to contemplate lights now could cast a shadow over the $26 million project.

The first two stages of the long-term upgrade did not include lights, but he said it could be considered in the future.

``(Putting in lights) is a realistic position but to throw it in now would, to some degree, place a strain on the project,'' he said.

Cook said stage one was useful for a life of at least 15 years and what happened in the second stage would depend greatly on the government of the day, as well as the AFL.

Cook said the club had to be responsible about its future survival and ensure a minimum number of games, currently seven, would be played at Skilled Stadium.

The Cats had already convinced two of the required three funding parties to support the redevelopment with the State Government providing $13.5 million and the AFL chipping in $2 million.

The club is still waiting for approval from the City of Greater Geelong to give $6 million.

``The council said to us the reason they have not given us final approval is because they want to make sure there is no further financial risk,'' Cook said.

``We are juggling three different parties in terms of funding and don't want to put it at risk by any late developments.''

He said he had spoken to Football Geelong about a proposal to play a pre-season competition at the ground, but the $6 million costing for lights was prohibitive.

``No one is willing to pay that for local activities,'' Cook said. ``If we got AFL games here it could, but it's not going to happen.''

Geelong Mayor Barbara Abley last night said she would not add to her comments on Monday when she said the city would facilitate a meeting on lights if there was a call for it.