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Pears on the rise

With the opening of the AFL season just days away, Tayte Pears has returned to full training.

3:43pm  Mar 30, 2015

Heppell on track for round one

Dyson Heppell has been passed fit and is set to line up in the club’s season opener against Sydney.

2:45pm  Mar 30, 2015

Training Gallery - 30 March

With time ticking down to our first game, the boys hit the track for a big session to start the week.

2:12pm  Mar 30, 2015

Latest Bomber TV

We hope this list answers most of the frequent questions regarding Essendon's decision to pursue a dual vision on locating at both Windy Hill and Melbourne Airport.

Why has this decision been made?
The Board has unanimously endorsed a decision to grow the Essendon Football Club by expanding its facilities with a dual vision for the future. This vision includes the retention of Windy Hill for Club and community outcomes, but also the development of a new, elite, state of the art training and administration facility at a site near Melbourne Airport.

What outcomes will be delivered at the new precinct?
From a football perspective, the new precinct allows for unprecedented future growth and delivers a multi-generational outcome for the club. The land size alone is approximately 100,000 square metres and will allow the Club to build one of the largest and most flexible indoor training spaces in the AFL, with elite gym, medical, recovery and IT facilities.

Further to this, to provide the players the best possible training conditions, the club will deliver a two oval football solution, building one ground the size of the MCG, and the other the size of Etihad Stadium. The retention of Windy Hill will also provide the Club with a third training option as the need arises.

Where is the Melbourne Airport site?
The new site will be located on Melrose Drive, approximately 2km from the airport terminal.

Does the Club have secure tenure?
The Club has secured a 37 year lease with the Melbourne Airport, which mirrors the lease that they have from the Federal Government. Melbourne Airport also has an option to extend their lease for another 50 years and an arrangement is in place for the Club to obtain another 50 years should the option be exercised by Melbourne Airport.

What is going to happen to Windy Hill?
The club has a dual vision which will see the retention of Windy Hill for local sport and community outcomes. The Club anticipates the ground will still have a significant football presence. The intention is to use the ground for Bendigo Bombers matches, EDFL matches and Auskick clinics. The Club will also speak with the AFL and AFL Victoria to ensure that it is available for representative football.

What happens to my paver?
The Windy Hill pavers will be retained on Napier Street and those who have bought a paver will be recognised at the new facility.

What will happen to the Fitness Centre, Social Club and Bomber Shop?
The Club has a 21 year lease with local council and the Club's intention is to operate under the lease by continuing to conduct the operations of the Windy Hill Venue, the fitness centre and opening the facilities up for improved community use.

Has the Football Club moved because of the position taken by the Bowls Club?
Contrary to what some believe, the decision to move the Club's training and administration base has not been made because of any particular user group at Windy Hill, but in fact with a long term vision in mind. In essence, the Windy Hill precinct is constrained to deliver the professional training outcomes desired by the club, its players and coaches. This is particularly the case if the medium to long term needs of the Club are considered.

What will now happen to the local sporting clubs?
The precinct will continue to be used by the bowls, cricket and croquet clubs, but that is ultimately a decision for those clubs.

What about the Essendon Hall of Fame?
The club anticipates the Hall of Fame will remain a part of the Windy Hill precinct and remain open to the general public year round. It also anticipates recognising the Club's history at the new facility.

Is the Melbourne Airport site polluted?
The Environment Protection Authority monitors Melbourne's air quality at a number of sites throughout Melbourne.  The Club's enquiries have revealed that the EPA has no concerns about air pollution in the Melbourne Airport area.  In fact, it is more the case that the inner city suburbs are more polluted, as these areas experience more of the conditions that lead to poor air quality – namely high vehicle traffic (emissions) and less wind.  In previous years (July 1997 – late 2001), the Airport also used an ambient air quality monitor to monitor and analyse air quality 24 hours a day. The findings of this study demonstrated no pollutant concentrations exceeding the ambient air quality objectives in the regulations. As the results did not exceed air quality limits during the four year monitoring period, it was recommended that the site be decommissioned and that has since occurred.

What about noise from the planes?
Land use controls for the areas around Melbourne Airport were implemented by the State Government in 1992. The controls are now based on the 2003 Australian Noise Exposure Forecasts. These forecasts show that the proposed site for the Club facility fall within the acceptable range based on the 2003 Australian Noise Exposure Forecasts.

Isn't Melbourne Airport too windy?
The Club has obtained and considered wind averages for the past 40 years for Melbourne Airport and other areas of Melbourne.  The data does show that Melbourne Airport is windier than the inner city, although Melbourne Airport wind conditions are comparable to Essendon Airport wind conditions (this is the closest Bureau reading that can be obtained and suggests that Melbourne Airport wind conditions are comparable to Windy Hill).   Importantly, the control that comes with the site will allow the Club to design and install solutions to reduce the impact of wind and ensure that there is a very good training environment.

When will the move take place?
The plan will require planning approval from the Federal Government, so most of 2011 will be spent working closely with Melbourne Airport and the Federal Government to obtain approval. The Club's ambition is to undertake construction during 2012 and have the training facilities available for the start of the 2013 season.

Who else will benefit from the development? Are there benefits for the community?
The Club has a long standing commitment to the community and the proposed facility seeks to deliver and build upon the results we have already achieved. With the support of government, the Club will also be building a facility that delivers real community outcomes for children, youth, local sporting clubs and the broader community. The precinct that will be created at Melbourne Airport will be a significant park reserve that can also be enjoyed by the local and broader community. 

It is anticipated that the following outcomes can be delivered:
• A second oval that can be available for community use;
• Dedicated community spaces for expansion of successful Club and local government programs; and
• Running/walking track for Club and community use; and

Given the location of the site, the Club intends to work closely with the City of Hume, Brimbank Council and the Melton Council to ensure that children and youth from these areas can experience and be involved in the Club's programs.

The facility will also house the Australian Paralympic Committee Victorian headquarters & training facility, providing improved pathways for Paralympic athletes and opportunities for people with disabilities.

The retention of Windy Hill will also provide real benefits for sporting and community groups in the City of Moonee Valley, as the ground and club training facilities will be available for more local sporting and community use.