Construction will begin later this year on a new permanent home for dragon boating in the ACT at Grevillea Park as the government prepares to invest a further $1.3 million into the project at the upcoming ACT Budget Review.
The ACT Government first promised $1.7 million to build a new home for dragon boating at the 2020 election.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the facility will provide the Territory’s growing boating community with new amenities, including more suitable boat storage, a training room, office and meeting rooms, a timekeeping room, change rooms and a marshalling area.
“The construction of the facility will also help create and protect local jobs and grow our employment base to over 250,000 jobs by 2025,” Mr Barr said.
Once completed, the facility will be sub-leased to Dragon Boat ACT, the governing body for the sport in the ACT, which will also contribute over $200,000 to the project.
Club president Donald Jenkin said the group had been “delighted” to learn of confirmation the government would be providing funding this year.
“Together with a significant contribution from Dragon Boat ACT, the funding enables the building of a permanent home for the sport in Canberra,” Mr Jenkin said.
Dragon Boat ACT already conducts its training sessions and regattas in a temporary facility at Grevillea Park. However, it can no longer be located at that particular site.
The club used to have its headquarters at the Southern Cross Yacht Club, but the car park expansion meant they had to pack up their boats and leave.
It’s hoped locating the headquarters at the East Basin will further activate that part of the lake.
“It is great to be supporting dragon boating in the ACT, which is one of Canberra’s largest water-based sports and an increasingly popular activity for women and people of all ages,” Minister for Education Yvette Berry said.
Dragon Boat ACT already boasts more than 600 members between the ages of 12 and 80-plus, and 70 per cent of its membership base is female.
The club hopes the new facilities will also assist them in attracting new members and continuing to grow as its membership and activities were significantly restricted by the last two years of the pandemic.
“We hope and expect that the permanent dragon boating facility at Grevillea Park will provide a focus and encouragement to help build our membership back to and beyond our pre-pandemic levels. We are very keen to build our sport and see no reason for doubt,” Mr Jenkin said.
In February last year, the ACT Government provided funding of $400,000 to commence detailed planning and design for the proposed facility before the tender was awarded to Cox Architects in June.
The firm is behind high-profile projects such as Casey Market Town, Capital Airport Group’s new office, and the Raiders Centre of Excellence.
Consultation is currently open and the community is invited to view the design on the YourSay website and provide feedback to the ACT Government by 30 March.