By Fatima Mrad
10 March 2010 - The Torch
THE Bulldogs could finally return to Belmore Sports Ground. Consultations were held with the Bulldogs, Sydney Olympic Park and Canterbury Council late last year, and council has since submitted a multi million dollar request to upgrade the Belmore grounds via the Federal Government's Regional and Community Infrastructure Partnerships Program.
Council said they aim to provide state-of-the-art training facilities, a gymnasium, offices, dressing rooms, and amenities for junior and adult sports.
A spokesperson for the Minister for Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, said the application was still being assessed and they hope to make an announcement in the "next couple of months".
President of the Back to Belmore action group Luke Brailey welcomed the news. "We're certainly very hopeful that the Minister [for Infrastructure] will see the need to address the problems facing Belmore Sports Ground," he said.
"It's a community asset and should be maintained that way for the future of the football club.
"I think there's a certain tribalism and a certain sense of enchantment as well when they're playing out at Belmore."
Mr Brailey said it was vital that the government provides funding for Belmore as they did with OKI Jubilee stadium.
"Belmore should be given the same consideration."
A Bulldogs spokesperson would not confirm how long the team's agreement with ANZ was, however said "there's the opportunity to play smaller games at Belmore should it be redeveloped up to standard."
"The agreement with ANZ is long term, [but] there's always the avenue should Belmore be redeveloped," the spokesperson said.
Former Bulldogs winger and NRL record holder Hazem El Masri said a redevelopment would be a good opportunity for the younger kids to see what it was like in its former glory days.