3 September 2020

Canberra's new Olympic-standard ice sports facility is one step closer

| Tim Gavel
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The current Phillip Ice Rink. Photo: Supplied.

Cruachan Investments Pty Ltd has been chosen to build and operate Canberra’s new ice sports facility although no deadline for completion of the complex has been forthcoming. Photo: Supplied.

Canberra’s ice sports community is closer to realising their dream of Olympic-standard facilities with the ACT Government’s announcement of a partner for the proposed Tuggeranong rink.

South Australian-based company Cruachan Investments Pty Ltd has been chosen to build and operate the new ice sports facility which will have a spectator capacity of 2000. The ACT Government selected Cruachan following an expression of interest process conducted in 2019.

When completed, the facility will provide desperately needed capacity for Canberra ice sports players and fans. They have struggled with the worn-out rink at Phillip which opened in 1980 and is in need of refurbishment.

The exact site for the facility is yet to be finalised but the preferred location is Rowland Rees Crescent in Greenway.

Cruachan will be involved in every aspect of the process from design through to construction, operation and maintenance.

READ ALSO Were dreams of a new ice sports facility in Canberra just a melting moment?

The ACT Government previously indicated that it would provide funding to assist in the development process, although the exact amount has never been released. The ACT Ice Sports Facility Options Analysis Report of 2018 estimated the cost of a two-rink facility to be around $35 million.

The announcement has been a long-time coming with the current ACT Government listing the facility as an election promise in 2016 with an expectation that it would be up and running in 2020.

The Labor Party, in making the election promise, said it would be seeking a commercial partner rather than the government fully funding and operating the facility.

The announcement has been welcomed by the president of the ACT Ice Sports Federation Tony Prescott who said Canberra’s ice sports community has been campaigning for more ice space and a modern facility which will allow Canberra to host major competitions.

“In the current circumstances, it speaks volumes that both the investors’ and government’s confidence in our proposal for a new twin-sheet ice sports centre has continued to attract significant support,” Mr Prescott said.

“We have always been confident that our proposal, which has a strong community-based orientation complemented by a business plan which includes tourism, major events, corporate functions and international competitions, would survive the pressures associated with competing infrastructure priorities.”

Mr Prescott says the facility will cater for a range of ice sports.

“When the facility is fully operational, it will include an expanded family ice sports program covering figure skating, ice dancing, ice hockey, broomball, curling, sled-hockey, ice speed skating and, of course, general recreational ice skating.”

The decision throws into doubt the viability of the Phillip Ice Rink once the new facility is up and running.

No deadline for completion has been forthcoming as part of the announcement of Cruachan’s selection to build and operate the new facility.

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An ice sports facility makes a good emergency morgue in the case of a deadly pandemic.

Capital Retro7:53 am 04 Sep 20

Climate change will melt the ice, won’t it?

Read about ice rink chiller technology. Climate change won’t affect the rink.

I wouldn’t get too excited yet. Cruachan’s untouched for 3 years website still boasts of their $55 million Ice Rinks Adelaide projects…in Marion and Playford… that were greeted with similar fanfare in 2016 and both never reached fruition.

This one has grift written all over it.

Fiona Carrick4:12 pm 03 Sep 20

Another sad day for the Woden Town Centre
It is now likely that Woden will lose its ice rink and pool. This is in addition to the basketball stadium, bowling greens, tennis courts and the pitch n putt – effectively the ACT Government is overseeing the dismantling of Woden’s recreation precinct in favour of high-rise development.
I expect there will be one ice sports facility in Canberra so it should be centrally located to provide access to more people, the City and Woden are the two central hubs.
There is no transparency around negotiations with the owner of the current ice rink to redevelop the site into a double ice sheet facility that is located close to public transport, hotels and restaurants.
The implications for the current facility are also unclear due to the zoning for the site requiring a pool and an ice rink, it is likely the facility will be boarded up until a solution is found – another Alexander and Albemarle.
The ACT Government is inviting thousands of people to live in apartments in the Woden Town Centre however they do not have a plan for where community facilities will be and how they will connect to form a community hub for the precinct. They have not had a conversation with the community about it.
We need collaborative pro-active planning for our Town Centre.
Fiona Carrick, Torrens
Independent candidate for Murrumbidgee

Its a slow old grind the process for this, but does sound like it is on the right track, which is a good outcome should it not fall over before it’s built.

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