Government opens tender for new ice rink facility in Canberra

Lachlan Roberts 5 September 2019 15

The new facility will be the home of the CBR Brave as well as other local ice sports teams. File photo.

The push for a new ice rink in the nation’s capital has finally got its skates with the ACT Government calling for expressions of interest in developing a multi-million dollar facility.

The ACT Government has opened a tender to design, construct, own, operate and maintain a new ice sports facility in Canberra to replace the current ageing Phillip Swimming and Skating Centre.

ACT Sports Minister Yvette Berry said the ACT Government has not identified a set location for the facility but suggested the venue be built in the south of Canberra. Ms Berry said respondents to the expression of interest process are encouraged to identify one or more potential suitable locations for the proposed facility.

Interested parties are also asked to provide a high-level concept design of the venue that will include two individual ice rinks, spectator seating and amenities for both recreational and competitive use so the venue can host local, national and international events.

The ACT Ice Sports Facility Options Analysis Report, released by the Government in late 2018, projected a two-rink facility over two levels to cost $35 million while a two-rink facility over a single level would cost $30 million.

Ms Berry said the ACT Government will not own or be the primary funding source for the development and its ongoing operation but said it would consider providing a financial contribution to support the establishment of the facility.

Mr Precott (alongside Ms Berry) said he remains hopeful that the facility will be completed by the end of 2021. Photo: Supplied.

ACT Ice Sports Federation president Tony Prescott said he is thrilled that the Government recognised Canberra needs a facility of Olympic dimensions.

“It has been four or five years that we have been engaging with the ACT Government and we are thrilled with the support we have received,” Mr Prescott said. “Our current facility is nearly 40 years old but we have always said this is not to be rushed.

“We want to get this right and to have a facility that is for the long-term future of the ice sports facility.”

Mr Prescott said the AISF endorses a public-private partnership approach, stating that he has been in discussions with other ice rink operators interstate and overseas that have shown a “little bit of interest”.

Mr Precott said he remains hopeful that the facility will be completed by the end of 2021 but “we have waited 40 years so we can wait”.

According to AISF, participation in ice sports has a projected growth of more than 10 per cent year on year, and Mr Prescott envisages an expansion of ice sports to include speed skating, curling, and paralympic ice sports such as sled hockey.

“We are ideally situated in a catchment area covering more than 1.5 million people — from Goulburn to Yass, the south coast of NSW to Cooma, and the ACT/Queanbeyan combined populations — so a new twin-sheet national ice sports centre will have a great advantage from day one,” he said.

“It will inherit an already existing and large local user base, which includes a number of grassroots competitions as well as elite-level programs across ice hockey, figure skating and broomball.

“We are committed to bringing national and international ice sports events to Canberra in the coming years, once the new facility is operational.”

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15 Responses to Government opens tender for new ice rink facility in Canberra
Woden Valley Community Council Woden Valley Community Council 11:19 pm 07 Sep 19

The Woden Valley Community Council is advocating for the new National Ice Sports Centre to be located on the current site close to public transport and accessible from across Canberra. The new 60m x 30m ice sheet could be build on the north side of the existing block while the current sheet continues operations.

gooterz gooterz 10:07 pm 07 Sep 19

Build it in tuggeranong. 4 hour return trip by tram from Gungahlin.

Mat Corey Mat Corey 5:00 pm 07 Sep 19

Josh Dillan on this?

Scott Humphries Scott Humphries 7:43 pm 06 Sep 19

Good news for ice hockey. Bad news for users of Phillip pool.

    David Hunt David Hunt 10:28 pm 07 Sep 19

    I would hope to see the Phillip rink stay open. There’s plenty of demand to fill three ice sheets in Canberra (Melbourne has 4, Sydney has 6)

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 7:22 am 08 Sep 19

    David Hunt as the article says the new one is to replace the old.

    Oh population of Sydney just over 5m, population of Melbourne just under 5m population of Canberra 410k. Using the number of rinks in Sydney and Melbourne as a guide Canberra can justify 0.5 rinks.

    Sean O'Connor Sean O'Connor 8:19 am 10 Sep 19

    Population is a really bad indicator of usage. The options paper that they did for this project showcased that the usage per person to the number of ice rinks (average) in Canberra is the second worst in the OECD (and select other countries). We have over 500 players per rink in Canberra. Only the Czech Republic has more (550 players on average per rink).

    As for the pool side of things. Phillip pool is in itself coming to the end of its life. That is why the new aquatic centre is being built in Molonglo next to Mt Stromlo. It will provide the region updated pool facilities that will be useful the whole year round, rather than just in the warmer months.

    I would love to see an indoor pool facility and another single ice rink being built at Phillip in addition to the new twin-sheet proposal but alas I don't think the current owner is too interested in that. And I doubt the Government would be able to build such a project there given it is unlikely to meet a cost/benefit analysis because of the land value. You would have to sell the idea on the basis of community facilities should be exempt from a cost/benefit analysis to ensure public amenities are available in all areas.

Emma Monaghan Emma Monaghan 6:20 pm 06 Sep 19

Jenny Thomas we can revisit our ice skating skills!!

    Jenny Thomas Jenny Thomas 7:17 pm 06 Sep 19

    Emma Heading you know I played ice hockey for 3 years!! No longer have skates, but more than happy to revisit those days😜

    Emma Monaghan Emma Monaghan 9:09 pm 06 Sep 19

    Jenny Thomas haha you’d be doing laps over me!!!

    Maria Greene Maria Greene 1:27 pm 07 Sep 19

    Emma Heading hasn't exactly been built yet

Karen Nicholson Karen Nicholson 4:59 pm 06 Sep 19

'Bout time. And put it in a town centre so both north and south kids can reach it by public transport.

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