What is a master plan and why is one required?

    A master plan is a vision and blueprint for the future development of the showground. A master plan for the showground will guide sustainable long-term development to accommodate the future recreational and cultural needs of our community. The draft Masterplan takes into account the current uses of the site, as well as opportunities into the future.

    The current facilities provided within the showground reflect the changing uses over time and large crowds that greyhound and harness racing used to attract.  The facilities no longer match present-day activities and are reaching the end of their functional life. The aging infrastructure onsite requires significant investment to improve the overall condition of facilities, and to enhance the attractiveness of the site and accessibility.

    There are other considerations in the future of the site including the recent announcements by:

    • Greyhound Racing NSW to create to consolidate racing operations in a new state of the art facility at Dapto, and;
    • The NSW Government to fund future investigations for the future northern extension of Memorial Drive (Bulli Bypass).  

    A contemporary vision for the site will enable Council to work with the NSW Government to ensure smooth transition of greyhound racing to Dapto and that the showground is preserved for future generations supporting local cultural, creative and recreational endeavours.

    What does the draft master plan propose?

    The draft master plan proposes to transform the showground into a contemporary multi-purpose community hub catering for hosting of events and markets, whilst facilitating outdoor and indoor sports training.

    What do the proposed works involve? What needs to change for the site to be developed into a multi-purpose community hub?

    To facilitate the development of the showground to a multi-purpose community hub, proposed changes and improvements to the site include:

    • Removal of all greyhound racing infrastructure enabling a reconfigured multi-use space. 
    • Removal of the main building, grandstand and betting ring. 
    • Reconstructed grass arena with a rectangular configuration with sub-surface drainage and irrigation works enabling multiple sized sports playing areas. 
    • A northern hardstand area for major stage and event infrastructure set up. 
    • New floodlighting to enable night-time use. 
    • New amenities & storage that are suitable for accommodating multiple users. 
    • New large, covered area suitable for events and markets. 
    • New building with multi-use areas catering for events, commercial activities, indoor training, and providing amenities. 
    • Consolidated carparking areas. 
    • Investigation to incorporate a dump point within the showground. 
    • A potential small park located in the southern area of the showground that could be utilised for active recreation opportunities (may include, skate, bike, basketball court, etc.).

    What are the benefits of the plan?

    The master plan for the site is intended to:

    • Increase activation and overall usage of the site
    • Maintain the large open space accommodating larger community events and providing additional training space for local sports
    • Create a wide variety of new spaces where the community can gather and participate in social, cultural and recreational activities
    • Accommodate the construction of contemporary buildings and amenities that better support users and a broader range of activities
    • Enable local business and employment opportunities by facilitating events and markets

    Why is an events space required?

    The area has high liveability with its access to the beach, open space, views, and a vibrant cultural scene, set within a spectacular and environmentally significant and sensitive landscape.

    The annual Illawarra Folk Festival, now in its 15th year at Bulli, and considered a signature event in the Wollongong calendar, demonstrates the efficacy of the showground and its locational attributes as a canvas for major multi-day events.  More recently the success of markets and other small and large events held in this space confirm the viability of the site as a regular community event space.

    The master plan proposes fit for purpose facilities for events which would enable small and large events to be hosted more affordably, as the services and facilities required to run a successful event would be provided on-site.

    How does the master plan support local sport? What facilities are proposed for sport?

    Given the unique landscape and topography of the northern suburbs, our sportsfields are being used at a high capacity and it is acknowledged that there is limited opportunity for the development of new sports fields in the area.

    To this end, the showground site presents a singular opportunity for the provision of new high quality, accessible and functional sport infrastructure. The master plan proposes the following:

    • Creation of a large, leveled grass arena with drainage and irrigation.
    • New floodlighting enabling night-time training by local sports 
    • New amenities & storage that are suitable for accommodating multiple sports users 
    • Indoor facilities suitable for training
    • Opportunity for a youth active recreation area

    It is intended that these sports facilities will be a shared space enabling multiple sports to operate from the site in a harmonious and complementary fashion to existing sports facilities in the area.

    What are the plans for greyhound racing?

    Greyhound Racing NSW has recently announced the purchase of land in the Dapto area to create a new state-of-the-art greyhound racing facility servicing the Illawarra.  

    Once this new facility is operational, it is anticipated that all greyhound activities (e.g. training/racing/wagering) currently held at Bulli Showground will transfer operations to the new Dapto Facility.

    What about Grevillea Park?

    Grevillea Park operates from Community Land under licence from Wollongong City Council.  

    The draft master plan does not propose changes or new infrastructure to the Grevillea Park but notes that further investigations will take place regarding any potential future impact of a road bypass. Elements may potentially be incorporated into the future Bulli Showground site.

    What are the next steps?

    We will carefully consider the feedback from the community and key stakeholders and where appropriate, make adjustments, changes and improvements to the draft master plan. A revised master plan will be reported to Council seeking adoption sometime later in 2023.

    Once adopted, the master plan will be used as the basis to undertake additional investigations and to prepare detailed designs in the short to medium term.

    Council will pursue funding opportunities and continue to liaise with relevant stakeholders.  The community will be kept informed at critical milestones as the planning and design progresses.