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.
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.